The Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly hit 12,000 points at about 11 am EST this morning, as U.S. stocks continue to post moderate gains.

The gains come in the wake of strong earnings reports, President Obama’s austere spending plans in his state of the Union address, shrugging off a December housing report showing less-then-expected sales of new homes in the U.S.

The Dow is up 0.14 percent to 11,993.42, while the Nasdaq is up 0.75 percent and the S&P 500 index is up 0.47 percent. The 10-year bond yield is up slightly by 0.07 percent, while oil is up 0.24 percent has after two consecutive down days. The cost of gold is flat, after dropping yesterday.

Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) is down 3.55 percent after reporting an 8 percent drop in sales for the fourth quarter. E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (NYSE: DD) is the top performer so far, up 2.59 percent on its far better-than-expected earnings report of 50 cents per share for 2010.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is up 1.59 percent, despite analysts’ expectations of a 7 percent drop in earnings in the second quarter.

Home Depot (NYSE: HD) is up 1.39 percent in mid-morning trading as it reported strong profit growth in the fourth quarter, and its rival, Lowe’s Cos. (NYSE: LOW) is up 1.56 percent as it announced plans to eliminate 1,700 managerial jobs.

Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) is up 1.09 percent after the announcement two weeks ago that Apple’s popular iPhone would be available to its subscribers.