It is always important for traders to follow the leading stocks as an indication of where the markets may trade in the future. Generally, when the leading stocks trade higher the overall stock market indexes will trade higher. When traders talk about leading stocks they will usually talk about stocks such as Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), and .Priceline.com Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN). While these stocks are all very important and often lead the markets, the most important stock in the entire stock universe is J.P. Morgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM).
J.P. Morgan Chase stock has lead the stock markets higher since late November 2011. This stock has become the most important financial stock in the United States. When JPM rallies there is usually a good chance that the major stock indexes are trading higher. In fact, today the markets are rallying higher as JPM trades higher. When this stock declines it should be a red flag that the recent stock market rally is coming to an end. Traders should use JPM stock as a stock market barometer. Today, JPM stock is trading higher by 0.97 cents to $43.96 a share.