It's a mixed holiday season on the stock market, with consumers spending more than they did a year ago but retailers struggling to keep those sales from moving online. The good news is that there are lots of great deals to be had, and stronger spending will be great for the economy.
The "Santa Claus rally" has hit the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI), but after a great 2013 the impact wasn't huge. The Dow is up 1.3% in December, which adds to a rise that resulted in a 27.5% total return for the index this year. Besides the whole market, here are four companies winning this holiday season.
Retail sales are up and down this year, but strong brands such as Nike (NYSE: NKE) are going to make sales whether they're online or in-store. Last weekend's launch of Jordan 11 Retro shows just the cachet Nike's products still have.
Sales were up 8% last quarter, and with the Olympics and World Cup coming up in 2014, Nike's products will be popular gifts for the holidays and these major sporting events.
This hasn't been the banner year we've come to expect from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), but iPods, iPhones, and iPads are still incredibly popular items for under the Christmas tree. The calendar fourth quarter is typically Apple's best quarter, and if recent trends are any indication, we should see another record this quarter.
iPhone unit sales were up 20% last quarter to 31.2 million, and the addition of the lower-cost iPhone 5c should be a holiday hit.
UPS and FedEx
If you're like me, you did a lot of shopping online this year. No matter where you shopped, that's good news for the UPS (NYSE: UPS) and FedEx (NYSE: FDX). Since coming out of the recession, both companies have seen a steady increase in revenue and with more shopping moving online that will continue.
Last-minute shoppers love the availability of online shipping during the holidays, and these will be two winners no matter who made the sale.