Today's surge has brought the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) to a new nominal all-time high, surpassing the mark it reached on Oct. 9, 2007. As of 12:50 p.m. EST, the index is up 142 points, or 1%, to 14,270. Today's rally has been broad and is showing strength across many sectors -- financials, industrials, tech, pharmaceuticals, and materials stocks are all higher. Only three of the Dow's 30 components weren't invited to the party.
Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) is barely above breakeven after slipping from an early morning gain, up about 0.1%. The big news about the nation's largest home-improvement retailer is that a trio of private-equity firms that own the vast majority of Home Depot's former industrial-distribution subsidiary are now considering taking it public. Home Depot sold most of HD Supply to Bain Capital, Carlyle, and Dubliner & Rice in 2007, retaining a 12.5% stake, after the housing crisis undermined its investment in the business.
This seems like a poor reason to flee Home Depot today, as the two businesses do not have a great deal of overlap. In fact, the IPO is more likely to be a net positive for Home Depot over the long run, whether it chooses to use HD Supply's IPO as a way to gain liquidity or simply decides to hold shares and collect the (potential) dividends to come.
Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) also gave up an early-morning gain, down about 0.2%. This appears to be primarily driven by news that Dr Pepper Snapple will pursue a more competitive international strategy following the reacquisition of its branding rights from Mondelez (NASDAQ: MDLZ ) . Dr Pepper now has the rights to distribute its Snapple brand in much of Asia and will also be distributing a number of second-tier beverages (Clamato? Really?) in Australia. Coke also brought $2.5 billion in new corporate bonds to market last week, but the terms of that deal were so sweet that investors shouldn't have taken the news as a bad sign.
Merck (NYSE: MRK ) is down about half a percent following yesterday's New York Times report on a major Supreme Court case over generic-drug liability. The drug at issue -- sulindac -- was manufactured by Mutual Pharmaceutical and is a generic form of Merck's Clinoril, which has been available for sale since 1978. It's highly unlikely that Merck will suffer any liability here, but it could see reduced demand for Clinoril as a result of the horrific depiction of one woman's adverse reaction to the drug.
Enjoy today's record high, but remember: Adjusted for inflation, the Dow topped out at 15,731 at the peak of the dot-com bubble. We've got a way to go yet to truly recapture those glory days.
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