Why Disney's Stock Leads the Dow Today

It's a slow day on Wall Street and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) is up a paltry 0.10% with just 30 minutes left in trading. The big news item of the day was a 0.2% rise in pending homes sales to an index reading of 101.7 in November. This is lower than the 103.3 reading in November 2012 but it's the first time the index has risen in the past six months.  

The housing market is key to the economic recovery and there are bullish signs as the employment market improves, but there's also interest rates to worry about. The pace of home sales and sale prices will be something to watch in 2014.

Disney leads the Dow
The only big mover on the Dow today is Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) , which is up 2.2% in late trading. Guggenheim analysts upgraded the stock and gave it a price target of $87 per share, which is a 14% upside from today's price.

The bigger news for long-term investors is that the animated Frozen nearly stole the top spot in domestic box office this weekend, with $28.8 million in ticket sales, despite being released more than a month ago. The film is now seventh on this year's domestic box office leaders, with $248 million in revenue, according to Box Office Mojo. That gives Disney three of the top-grossing seven movies, with Iron Man 3 in first place ($409 million) and Monsters University ($268 million) coming in fifth this year.  

The great run at the box office validates Disney CEO Bob Iger's acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm in recent years, and lines up revenue streams for years to come. The box office is just the first step in value creation for Disney and will be followed by video sales, streaming revenue, toy sales, and theme park rides. What's important for the long term is that Disney continues to create new and exciting characters that can keep its product offerings fresh. This year looks like a home run on that front.

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