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Dow Jones average approaches 10,000

October 14, 2009 |  8:45 am
Will the Dow Jones industrial average finally get back above 10,000 today?

The banking and technology sectors are doing their best to see that it does.

The Dow pushed to within nine points of 10,000 thanks to blockbuster earnings this morning from JPMorgan Chase & Co., and better-than-expected profits from Intel Corp. after the market closed Tuesday.

As of 8:30 a.m. PDT, the Dow was up 115.86 points, or 1.2%, to 9,986.92. JPMorgan shares were up 3.6% and Bank of America Corp. had gained 2.8%.

Intel was up 3%, with Hewlett-Packard Co. and Cisco Systems Inc. rising more than 2%.

A spate of generally strong earnings reports is helping the market extend its seven-month upward ramble. After sputtering two weeks ago in the face of troublesome employment data, the Dow and other major indexes have regained their footing amid enthusiasm over earnings.

JPMorgan blew past earnings estimates with third-quarter profit of $3.6 billion, or 82 cents a share. Analysts had expected 51 cents a share.

But given that JPMorgan has a sizable presence in both investment banking and commercial banking, its results also underscore the notably contrasting fortunes of Wall Street and Main Street.

Its results were driven by strength in fixed-income issuance and investment banking activities such as giving merger advice. That’s adding up to lush paydays for bankers and traders at JPMorgan and other Wall Street stalwarts, such as Goldman Sachs Group, which is expected to uncork blowout earnings Thursday.

On the other hand, JPMorgan earmarked $2 billion to cover expected consumer loan losses. That’s another reminder of how ordinary Americans are struggling to pay their bills in a stolid economy with rising joblessness.

-- Walter Hamilton