The Dow Jones Industrial Average
One bit of good news: U.S. retail sales rose 0.8% in July, the highest in five months. A few big names rose considerably today:
Home Depot reported 12% earnings growth as a result of cost savings and stronger sales of home-improvement supplies and accessories. Especially encouraging for shareholders of the retailer were that some of the states to show the best turnaround were the hardest-hit housing markets, suggesting that the industry may be due for an improvement as housing continues to recover. Home Depot also raised its full-year earnings guidance. It'll be interesting to see what Lowe's
Better retail sales also helped boost Wal-Mart shares. The world's largest retailer, which announced its own brand of high-end dog food today, is expected to post earnings per share of $1.17 when it reveals second-quarter earnings on Thursday.
In a flurry of activity, Pfizer is buying the rights to sell a nonprescription form of AstraZeneca's popular heartburn medicine, Nexium, for $250 million, as well as filing an IPO for one-fifth of its multibillion-dollar Zoetis animal-health unit.
Home Depot, Pfizer, and Wal-Mart all beat the market today, but as investors it's also important for us to remember to keep our eyes on long-term performance. If you're looking for some more stock ideas, The Motley Fool recently highlighted "The 3 Dow Stocks Dividend Investors Need." You can get the full scoop on these three promising Dow dividend dynamos.