Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Dow Drops 104 Points, Zale Surges 15%

Watch stocks you care about

The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...

Your own personalized stock watchlist!

It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...

Click Here Now

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 stock market fell again today, ending at one-month lows after retail numbers from a hectic November shopping period came in stronger than expected. Retail sales ticked up 0.7% last month, beating expectations, and compounding Wall Street's fears that the Federal Reserve will begin winding down its quantitative easing measures at a policy meeting next week. The central bank's so-called "tapering" was widely expected to begin at the Fed's September meeting. When that failed to materialize, markets surged; but with Wall Street bracing for a taper, yet again, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) fell 104 points, or 0.7%, to end at 15,739. 

Shares in entertainment giant Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) fell only slightly on Thursday, after shedding 1.5% in trading yesterday. Today's slip, in the broader context of things, was meaningless: Disney stock began trading "ex-dividend" today, entitling anyone who owned shares at day's end yesterday to sell them today and still receive the next quarterly dividend. In theoretical terms, this will always give shares a negative handicap for the day, as short-term traders sell off the stock and lock in the next dividend. In practical terms, selling shares of one of today's most dominant entertainment companies for a few bucks in guaranteed income isn't the best long-term investing strategy. 

A far smaller consumer services company, Texas-based jewelry retailer Zale (UNKNOWN: ZLC.DL  ) , saw shares surge 15.5% on Thursday. The $480 million Zale is a tiny fish in a very large pond, which can be good and bad for investors. Right off the bat, we know it has tons of room to grow, and tremendous opportunities; the trouble comes when and if Zale fails to grow adequately, which could cause shares to tumble quickly. Thursday, shareholders were happy they accepted the volatility after Northcoast Research upgraded the stock from neutral to buy, giving shares a $16 target price. Fellow writer Michael Lewis recently touted Zale's same-store sales growth, but lamented its debt load, wondering if there might be better plays in the jewelry industry. 

Finally, Greek shipping company StealthGas (NASDAQ: GASS  ) slumped 5.6% Thursday, tacking on a fifth straight day of declines. Shares of StealthGas have cratered 17.9% in those five days, a period which, not coincidentally, saw its CFO resign to pursue other opportunities. Yesterday, the company also abruptly announced plans to cancel a secondary public offering of its stock, saying the issue wasn't in the best interest of its shareholders. While investors can applaud the fact StealthGas doesn't want to dilute shares, these two very recent, very unpredictable announcements spark some understandable concerns about the company's stability.

The Motley Fool's Top Stock For 2014
The market stormed out to huge gains across 2013, leaving investors on the sidelines burned. However, opportunistic investors can still find huge winners. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has just hand-picked one such opportunity in our new report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." To find out which stock it is and read our in-depth report, simply click here. It's free!

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2763592, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/28/2016 1:11:54 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,212.35 -15.95 -0.09%
S&P 500 2,156.16 -3.77 -0.17%
NASD 5,298.34 -7.37 -0.14%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/28/2016 12:56 PM
^DJI $18211.93 Down -16.37 -0.09%
DIS $91.82 Up +0.10 +0.11%
Walt Disney CAPS Rating: *****
GASS $3.50 Up +0.04 +1.14%
StealthGas CAPS Rating: ****
ZLC.DL $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Zale Corp CAPS Rating: *