Investors came in yesterday feeling optimistic about the future, with promising government data about the economy. But Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke put a damper on the optimism as he failed to give any signs that the Fed would do anything further to ease monetary policy. The news sent gold plunging by nearly $100 per ounce at one point during the day. The damage for the stock market was less extreme, but the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) still lost ground, falling 53 points to 12,952 yesterday.
But some stocks bucked the trend and moved higher yesterday. Let's take a look at three of them.
Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) , up 1.5%
Even on a down day for the market, it wasn't surprising to see beverage-maker Coca-Cola's stock rise. Often seen as a defensive stalwart, the company is no stranger to bucking downtrends even without any obvious news pushing shares higher.
One sign of strength may have come from SodaStream (Nasdaq: SODA ) , whose shares plunged 14% as sales and earnings growth fell short of expectations. Despite a strong push during the holiday season of the do-it-yourself beverage makers, it seems that SodaStream isn't really threatening to put a dent in Coke's business anytime soon.
Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) , up 0.7%
For Home Depot, news of an expanding U.S. GDP likely gave further fuel to the notion that home improvement might be a booming business. Yet the tea leaves are far from clear on that point, given that home prices have continued to fall, according to the most recent data.
Even in challenging times, a strategic alliance can help boost results. Home Depot has had a partnership with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia for about two years now, and the home improvement retailer said it plans to renew that partnership with an expanded scope that will include craft furniture and holiday offerings as well as paint, cabinetry, and carpet.
Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ) , up 0.3%
The news of the day for big-brand companies came from social media, where Facebook is seeking to attract new ways to appeal to potential advertisers. With the potential to target ads to specific users based on their preferences, effectiveness would rise. And with P&G already having a huge stable of billion-dollar brands under its belt, it would clearly be a huge win for Facebook to build a stronger relationship with the consumer-goods giant.
That said, word of mouth can come in unexpected ways. Clean-up crews used Tide detergent on spilled jet fuel at the Daytona 500, leading to a host of free publicity for P&G. The company has done its best to play up the buzz, which one marketing firm estimated as being worth at least $8 million.
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