Pandora Surges on User Numbers As Hertz Feels the Pain

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Despite some reassuring data today from the services sector, two in every three Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) stocks fell, as markets remain focused on earnings, jobs numbers, and a statement from Ben Bernanke later in the week. Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) ended as one of the notable blue-chip decliners, falling 0.5%. As for the Dow itself, it was down as much as 116 points earlier in the day but ended up losing just 20 points, or 0.1%, to end at 15,618. 

The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing purchasing managers index rose from a reading of 54.4 in September to 55.4 in October data today showed. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion, so October's numbers indicate expansion at a higher rate than September. Even though Home Depot is in the services sector itself, shares in the home-improvement retailer edged lower. The current rationale of the stock market is very Federal Reserve-centric, so it's possible that the fall reflects Wall Street's concern that today's number will encourage tapering sometime soon. Bottom line: Nothing earth-shattering happened that long-term Home Depot shareholders should be worried about.

Though not earth-shattering, per se, Pandora (NYSE: P  ) did release some very important numbers investors should be paying attention to. Judging by the stock today, which soared 8.6%, it looks like investors are up to date on their note-taking. Pandora released detailed October usage numbers today, and proof of the service's popularity is in the pudding: Users listened to about 1.5 billion hours of programming on Pandora, nearly 20% more than October 2012. Not only has market share in the U.S. radio segment advanced from 6.6% to 8.1% in the same amount of time, but Pandora also has more than three times as many active users as Apple's iTunes Radio. 

Lastly, shares of car and equipment rental company Hertz (NYSE: HTZ  ) plunged 10.5% Tuesday after reporting quarterly earnings. There's a silver lining to the meltdown, however: The slump had nothing to do with Hertz's earnings, which came in above expectations. The cause of today's fall was a sour deal with Simply Wheelz, which bought Hertz's Advantage segment last year. Simply Wheelz is also simply broke, it appears, and as it declares bankruptcy with outstanding debt to Hertz still on its books, the company will have to kiss some of those accounts receivable goodbye.

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