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Ring the Bell, School’s in Session

|Includes: Ford Motor Company (F), FORD, MMM, UPS
12:30pm (EST)

After a slow start, the bulls have pushed the major averages to new 2011 highs today after another round of solid earnings and better-than-expected economic news. 3M (MMM, $95.80, up $1.68), Ford (F, $15.86, up $0.32) and United Parcel Service (UPS, $74.62, up $0.98) played music for Wall Street’s ears after beating expectations and saying some good things about their businesses.

As far as economic news, the Consumer Confidence Index for April came in at 65.4 versus expectations for 64.4. Even better was the fact that the number came in higher than the upwardly revised 63.8 print posted last month.

The bulls put things in second gear after hearing the news because it means consumers are still spending despite higher gas and food prices. As a result, the major indexes are right at our upper-end targets as we head into Wednesday.

Wednesday is a big day for a couple of reasons. One, the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) interest rate decision will be released. And two, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to give a briefing for the first time ever after such an announcement. The Chicago Fed manufacturing index for March and Durable Goods Orders are also due out but with the market at new highs, he will need to be sharp.

As we head to press, the Dow is up 120 points to 12,600 while the S&P 500 is higher by 14 points to 1,349. We said to look for a run up to 12,600 and 1,350. The Nasdaq is just above our 2,850 target with its 29 point pop today. Folks, you can’t call it much better than that.

We have a few trades that are doing really well today so we need to take a look at them and decide if we need to protect profits. Subscribers, check the Members Area for the updates.