Wal-Mart Rallies, Sends Dow to Record Close Above 16,000

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.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) continued its remarkable run on Friday, capping off a seventh straight week of gains with a fresh all-time record close. My colleague Dan Dzombak, citing the Shiller P/E and historical market data, thinks stocks are overheated at these new highs. It's a tempting, well-researched argument, but I tend to disagree for more qualitative reasons. With interest rates still in the gutter and quantitative easing likely to continue into next year, stocks are the only game in town and still offer attractive returns for long-term investors. Wall Street sided with yours truly, and the Dow added 54 points, or 0.3%, to end at 16,064 today.

But small day-to-day swings are just noise to those who practice the patient, long-term investing style The Motley Fool champions. Warren Buffett, of course, is also a fan, and, as the Oracle of Omaha once observed, "In the short term, the market is a popularity contest. In the long term, the market is a weighing machine." Blue-chip staple Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT  ) tacked on 1.2% on the heels of competitive positioning that could have long-term consequences. Not only did it surprise competitors by bucking the trend and starting Black Friday sales today, a week earlier than usual, but the company is starting Cyber Monday two days earlier than normal and offering free shipping on orders above $35.

I extend my most heartfelt sympathies to the businesses competing against Wal-Mart and Amazon.com. That cannot be fun.

Meanwhile, stock in U.S. grocery chain SUPERVALU (NYSE: SVU  ) was -- pardon the pun -- seen as a "super value" on Wall Street today, as shares surged 7.2% on above-average volume. A combination of factors may have woven together to boost the stock. Shares sank earlier this week, dipping more than 8% on Monday after a downgrade, giving the stock upside room for today's swing. On top of that, the consumer services sector outperformed today. SUPERVALU's board also amended a severance package agreement in the case of a change of control, something executives may want should a merger or acquisition take place. 

Lastly, Lumber Liquidators (NYSE: LL  ) shares slumped 11.8% as one Wall Street bigwig's negativity on the hardwood flooring company sent shares ironically spiraling to an uncertain floor of its own. Lumber Liquidators has been a phenomenally successful investment for just about anyone who invested and held on in the last few years. The company has ridden the housing resurgence to new heights, with shares up more than 90% this year alone. Hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson, however, raised questions at a private investor conference this morning about Lumber Liquidators' impressive margins, revealing his short stake in the company and implying the business' success could be due to the illegal sourcing of timber from Russia. 

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