Dow Rallies 129 Points, Rite Aid Continues Stellar Run

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.

For the next two days, the fate of Wall Street will lie in the hands of the policymakers at the Federal Reserve. The last major policy meeting of the year -- a two-day event that begins tomorrow -- should be revealing. By Wednesday evening, we'll know whether the central bank plans to rein in its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program or continue it into 2014. Judging by the performance of the stock market today, investors weren't too concerned about the Fed's intentions. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) added 129 points, or 0.8%, to end at 15,884.

Only one in 10 Dow stocks had the nerve to fall on Monday, and Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) wasn't one of them. Shares added 1.3%, continuing what has been quite the magical year for Disney's stock, which has enjoyed a 41% run-up in 2013. Although the dismal performance of the Johnny Depp film The Lone Ranger is a blemish on the company's otherwise stellar year, recent successes like the new animated Frozen movie are making up for the flop.

Elsewhere in the services sector, Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD  ) shares tacked on 4.3% as the stock benefited from the secular rise in the market today. Rite Aid stock has been about 70% more volatile than the broader market recently, an aspect of the stock that investors have been thankful for this year, as shares have more than quadrupled in 2013. With pharmacy revenue making up around 60% of drugstore revenue, the other 40% of sales have been harder to come by and pressured lower by promotions. We'll get a better glimpse of Rite Aid's financial health on Thursday, when the company reports quarterly earnings. 

Finally, department store Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD  ) saw shares fall 2.7% as fallout over the company's decision to spin off its Lands' End segment continues. In the five sessions since Sears announced the decision, which aims to shore up capital in order to make the company more liquid, shares have fallen 7.6%. Even Chairman of the Board Eddie Lampert is cashing out of this one, having recently forfeited his controlling interest as he cut his ownership from 55% to 48%. Any business that sees the need to sell off its most lucrative units in a desperate turnaround effort is a risky bet in my book; I'd like to see sales start trending higher again before betting on a Sears Christmas miracle. 

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