The day-to-day movements of the stock market can be hard to decipher, and today is a classic head-scratcher. This morning it was reported that the U.S. economy grew just 2.4% in the first quarter, falling short of the previous estimate of 2.5%, while jobless claims rose 10,000 to 354,000 . Still, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is up 0.54% near the end of the trading session, and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) has risen 0.75%.
The big banks are leading the charge, with Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) up 3% and JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM ) gaining 2.1%. RealtyTrac said that foreclosure sales fell 18% sequentially in the first quarter and were down 22% from a year ago. This is just the latest sign that housing has recovered, and a drop in foreclosures means Bank of America and JPMorgan are being paid back for loans outstanding.
The National Association of Realtors also said that pending home sales were up 0.3% in April -- another strong sign for housing. It's been a long road to recovery for housing, but data this year has shown strong improvement, and that will continue to drive big banks higher.
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Shares of Disney (NYSE: DIS ) are down 2.3% after the company hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. First, a patron at Disney World found a loaded gun on a ride where another patron lost it. Then, a Disneyland employee was charged with possession of a destructive device following a small explosion in Mickey's Toontown on Tuesday. The explosion was reportedly caused by two water bottles filled with dry ice, and early reports say this was a prank.
This isn't good news in the short term for Disney, but in the long term it doesn't change the investment thesis for the stock. Disney is still a well-positioned media company with one of the best assets in the business in ESPN. Today's drop is a blip on the radar and can be seen as a buying opportunity for investors looking to jump in.