These Stocks Kept the Dow From Falling Today

If you needed another example of how resilient the stock market has been lately, today's market movements gave you one. After having spent much of the day with substantial losses that sent the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) down 75 points at its worst levels this morning, the Dow battled back, to finish down just a fraction of a point. The broader market didn't manage to regain all of its lost ground, but still finished the day with a modest quarter-percent drop.

Oddly enough, consumer-oriented stocks were the biggest gainers in the Dow, despite negative data on retail sales and consumer sentiment early in the day. Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) managed to climb more than 2% on an analyst upgrade, as the company has managed to dominate its rivals, and boost its internal efficiency, to take full advantage of improving conditions in the housing market. Meanwhile, McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) rose more than 1.5% on news that it had rehired former executive Steve Easterbrook as its global chief brand officer. Given the importance that McDonald's international business has for the fast-food giant's overall success, Easterbrook's presence will be vital in keeping the restaurant chain relevant, not just domestically, but around the world.

Beyond the Dow, drugstore giant Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD  ) jumped another 9%, adding to gains earlier in the week after announcing its first profitable year since 2007. Today's move came on an analyst upgrade, but investors should stay mindful of the fact that Rite Aid still has plenty of challenges ahead, most of all, a substantial debt load that has hampered its recovery in the past. If competitors manage to claw back customers that Rite Aid has won over the past year, then it won't be hard for Rite Aid to fall back into difficulties in the future.

Finally, Beazer Homes (NYSE: BZH  ) advanced nearly 6% after a housing-industry analyst upgraded her views on the homebuilder, as well as several of its peers. With housing prices finally starting to bounce back, it'll be important for Beazer and other homebuilders to secure land for future construction before prices start rising too quickly. To the extent that Beazer has already found land for building, it has a competitive advantage over rivals that may have to pay up for similar places to build.

Will McDonald's keep recovering?
McDonald's turned in a dismal year in 2012, underperforming the broader market by 25 percentage points. Looking ahead, can the Golden Arches reclaim its throne atop the restaurant industry, or will this unsettling trend continue? Our top analyst weighs in on McDonald's future in a recent premium report on the company. Click here now to find out whether a buying opportunity has emerged for this global juggernaut.


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