A number of different economic indicators were released today by the U.S. government and while for the most part they all looked good, indicating the U.S. economy is improving, none of them really made a meaningful impact on the markets today. (My Fool colleague Dan Dzombak broke down all the numbers earlier today, which you can find here.)
The highlights were that retail sales in December rose by 0.5% and when excluding automobiles, that number managed to rise by 0.3%. Inventories rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in November, unchanged from October while the producer's price index fell by 0.2% in December after falling 0.8% in November.
Like I said, with all this news the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) managed to stay rather flat the whole day and ended today's trading session up just 27 points, or 0.2%, and now sits at 13,534. Of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow, 12 of them ended the day in the red. Three of the big losers this afternoon were American Express (NYSE: AXP ) , Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) , and McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) . Read about why those stocks fell today by clicking here. Or to read about three of today's biggest winners -- Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) , JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) , and Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS ) -- continue reading below.
So why were they higher?
Shares of Microsoft moved higher by 1.19% after it was announced that Facebook (NASDAQ: FB ) and Microsoft's Bing relationship got more important today. During a press conference this afternoon, Facebook announced what they are calling "Graph Search." This will be a way for Facebook users to search for different items from their platform and Bing will be a part of this new search tool.
Shares of JPMorgan Chase rose by 1.02% during today's regular trading session. The bank is scheduled to announce its most recent quarterly earnings tomorrow, as well as release information pertaining to the "London Whale" incident. The report is believed to place some of the blame for the Whale losses on CEO Jamie Dimon, a man who has pushed the board to release the documents pertaining to the incident to the public.
Lastly, shares of Walt Disney rose by 0.99%. Disney announced a deal with AT&T (NYSE: T ) today that will give the wireless service provider access to Disney's massive amount of TV content. AT&T's U-verse TV service is currently the fastest-growing provider in the country. AT&T's shares ended the day down 0.76%.
More foolish insight
It's easy to forget that Walt Disney is more than just the House of the Mouse. True, Disney amusement parks around the world hosted more than 121 million guests in 2011. But from its vast catalog of characters to its monster collection of media networks, much of Disney's allure for investors lies in its diversity, and The Motley Fool's new premium research report lays out the case for investing in Disney today. This report includes the key items investors must watch, as well as the opportunities and threats the company faces going forward. We're also providing a full year of regular analyst updates as news develops, so don't miss out -- simply click here now to claim your copy today.