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It looks like the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) is set to break its run of triple-digit movements -- and take away investors' streak of gains for the week, as well. The blue chip index has turned down by around 25 points as of 2:15 p.m. EDT, with most stocks in the red -- although few Dow members have made big movements on this Friday. It's a nice breather for investors after the volatility of the past few weeks, but expect more of that to come as questions surrounding quantitative easing's inevitable tapering heat up.
The future of stimulus isn't something long-term investors need to worry about, but keeping an eye on stocks is key to maintaining the best portfolio you can. Who's making waves today? Let's catch up on the stories -- and movers -- you need to know about.
Signs of strength from consumers
Housing, and rising consumer sentiment, have dominated talk around the economic recovery this year, and the University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters consumer confidence report for May showed a better-than-expected reading of 84.1 for the month, down only slightly from April's score. That combination of economic strength has done wonders for Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) , today's Dow leader with shares up 1.8%. Home Depot's pulled ahead of rival Lowe's (NYSE: LOW ) , particularly after last quarter's earnings report, where the former raised its guidance, but the latter missed projections. That separation for leadership in the industry has Home Depot poised to continue soaring as the economy's rebound picks up.
Coca-Cola's (NYSE: KO ) another consumer-oriented stock benefiting from the economy's bounce, although it ranks in the bottom third of the Dow's performers on the year, with shares gaining around 12% year to date. Coke's made a smart move for the future by turning to international growth to boost its efforts, however. With advanced economies like the U.S. and Europe questioning the health effects of soft drinks, Coca-Cola's debuting its new "Coca-Cola Life" in Argentina to further its presence in South America. In the long term, tapping into international growth is the right move for Coke, particularly as Europe struggles in its economic recession that won't go away.
Disney's (NYSE: DIS ) also among the leaders today, with shares up 0.7% so far, and it's hard to pick out a Dow stock with more momentum than this entertainment behemoth. After the chart-topping success of subsidiary Marvel's Iron Man 3 earlier this year -- a movie that made more than $1.2 billion around the globe -- Disney's hit another success with its animated Monsters University, a movie that pulled in more than $100 million around the world in its global release last weekend. Combined with the company's purchase of Lucasfilm, Disney's dominating the movie industry like no other company, and set to continue doing so in the next few years.
Unfortunately, IBM (NYSE: IBM ) shares aren't having the same kind of good day. Big Blue's stock has fallen 2.1% to lead the Dow down. Blame competitor Accenture (NYSE: ACN ) for this one, as the company reduced its earnings and revenue outlook for the year in a move that took the IT industry south. IBM's still on strong footing with its IT and cloud businesses, however, although Accenture's caution about a slowdown in the industry is worth watching for IBM shareholders.
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