On big down days for the market, it's often hard to find any stocks that bucked the trend and rose. Today was one of those days, as 28 out of the 30 Dow stocks lost ground. From slower Chinese growth and eurozone turmoil to falling consumer sentiment in the U.S., the two-day bounce for the stock market came to an abrupt halt. At the end of the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) lost 137 points to finish at 12,850. The 10-Year Treasury Yield (INDEX: ^TNX ) fell back below the key 2% level, while gold and oil prices both fell.
Let's focus in on the two stocks that didn't participate in the market carnage today to see if we can get any hints about what's likely to hold up well in a coming correction.
Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) , up 0.7%
Sometimes, it pays to listen to what a company actually says about the economy. Yesterday, Home Depot CEO Frank Blake said that even though the warm weather that helped boost winter sales figures was unquestionably positive, weather effects also made it more challenging to get a realistic read on economic prospects for the future. Until the company knows whether customers boosted spending or simply moved it forward, Home Depot won't be able to make broader conclusions about the health of its customer base.
Expansion would be one way to get some diversification, and one obvious place to look is Canada. Lowe's (NYSE: LOW ) has said it wants to expand in the United States' northern neighbor, and Reuters reported yesterday about speculation that Lowe's might buy Canadian home-improvement retailer Rona to compete better against Home Depot. Home Depot has some competitive advantages, but it can't afford to stay still in a rapidly evolving industry.
Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT ) , up 0.6%
It's unlikely that Kraft's decision to stop selling Greek yogurt was responsible for today's gains. But the demise of its Athenos yogurt line shows just how hard it is to keep up with quickly changing food fads.
As Greek yogurt became more popular, you'd expect Kraft to muscle in with top brand presence. But competitors snagged the top two spots in the market, leaving Kraft with the tough decision of whether to accept also-ran status or to give up entirely and focus on other products. Kraft chose the latter.
With the company trying to split itself up, big product commitments may need to stay on hold until Kraft's two main divisions start trading separately. That could prove problematic in short-term decision-making, but it could help Kraft's surviving parts in the long run.
Another week is coming
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