Disney's Surge Sends Dow to New Record

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.

Yesterday's routine checkup on the real estate market showed some unsavory results -- namely, pending home sales dropped again in October, their fifth straight month of declines. An upbeat Wall Street, however, shrugged off the news, bidding blue chips to their highest close of all time. The stock market mostly held its gains again today, as rosier numbers from the Commerce Department showed robust demand for housing permits. Encouraged that the backbone of the American economy isn't crumbling, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) traded roughly even, though its minuscule 0.3-point gain was technically enough to qualify for an all-time closing record of 16,072.

Shares of Walt Disney  (NYSE: DIS  ) were the magic ingredient helping the index end on a high note. Disney stock jumped 2.1% Tuesday after investment bank UBS bumped its price target on shares to $78, implying the stock has another 9.6% upside to today's close. The improved outlook factors in the blockbuster sales potential of next year's 2014 World Cup, a global sporting phenomenon that comes only once every four years. Disney's ESPN network will no doubt be cackling and counting its money regardless of who wins.

Shares of Tile Shop  (NASDAQ: TTS  ) would have stolen Disney's spotlight in the Dow -- if Tile Shop was actually a Dow component, that is. In any case, shares of the Minnesota-based tile company surged 8.7% Tuesday, putting big grins on Tile Shop equity owners. And considering the stock's wild price swings in November, a simple grin isn't much to ask for. Shares dropped nearly 40% in a single day just weeks ago, after a research firm claimed the company was doctoring the books to boost profits. Tile Shop's vehement denials of wrongdoing, combined with continued strength in real estate should give investors some peace of mind, though it's always dicey sifting through the noise to determine what the real story is as an individual investor.

Finally, the bookworms of Wall Street were woefully underrepresented Tuesday, as Barnes & Noble  (NYSE: BKS  ) stock took a 6% tumble. The swift transition to digital media has been unkind to traditional booksellers, though Barnes & Noble has admittedly done its best to adapt and embrace the new age. The company reported quarterly earnings today, and the least surprising revelation was that bricks-and-mortar stores are going out of style. The most surprising tidbit: Barnes & Noble actually turned a profit! This unexpected holiday gift for shareholders was immediately spoiled, however, by sales numbers from its Nook e-reader division. The light at the end of the tunnel is fading for Barnes & Noble, and with the Nook business going nowhere quickly, it's hard to see an upside to owning a piece of it.

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