The big leader today is the S&P 500 (^GSPC) making new all-time highs, up 0.4% so far today and up nearly 2% this year. Helping it reach those new highs today are:
Alcoa (AA): Yes, Alcoa. The long-strugling former Dow member announced plans to expand their rolling mill in Brazil to take advantage of growth in Latin America. Alcoa is up 60% since it got kicked out of the Dow last September, outperforming the Index by a factor of six.
Caterpillar (CAT): Shares are flirting with the $100 level and up 10% year to date. Later today CAT execs will be testifying before a Senate committee about $2.4 billion in taxes the company has deferred or avoided thanks to a multi-national restructure 15 years ago. According to recent reports U.S. corporations have nearly $2 trillion in cash parked overseas thanks in large part to tax loopholes created in D.C. itself. So Caterpillar is being taken to task by politicians for following the law.
Intuitive Surgical (ISRG): Shares were up as much as 14% on news that FDA has approved an upgraded version of the DaVinci surgical robot. The new DaVinci has surgical arms long enough to reach every part of a patients body without repositioning. It's a major breakthrough enabling more complex surgeries to be done remotely.