Rite Aid Rally Rages On; J.C. Penney's Silence Sparks Selloff

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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.

Just after the first truly bullish day of 2014, the stock market pulled back again today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) erased most of yesterday's 105-point gains. The much-awaited minutes from the Federal Reserve's December policy meeting showed that most of the central bank's leaders supported the decision to curb bond-buying to the tune of $10 billion per month. Meanwhile, a more tangible phenomenon is temporarily putting strains on the U.S. economy: weather. The "polar vortex" will likely cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars as the extreme weather seen in dozens of states slows transportation. The Dow ended down 68 points, or 0.4%, to close at 16,462. 

Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) stock finished as one of Wednesday's 20 blue-chip decliners, shedding 1.5% in trading. Media mogul and all-around intimidating old man Barry Diller continues to be a major thorn in Disney's side. Diller's Aereo, which provides TV on the Web, just raised another $34 million from private investors as it continues to boldly execute its highly controversial business model. If Aero is legally able to provide live and previously recorded TV to its subscribers via Internet-enabled devices Disney, as well as many other broadcasters, will be furious. (Aereo doesn't pay the broadcasters for the right to retransmit their programming.) Has the day come where Hannah Montana is more controversial than Miley Cyrus?

Elsewhere, J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP  ) stock ended as a big loser again, cratering 10% to bring its five-day losses to 19.5%. What sort of horrific news could be responsible for a slide like that? Insider selling? Cooking the books? An expensive Christmas party? In fact, J.C. Penney shares have been slumping because it's kept mum on holiday sales numbers. That's right, folks. Wall Street will sometimes whip you just for shutting your mouth. The department store's press release this morning, in which the company reiterated its fourth quarter guidance and noted how it was "pleased" with its holiday performance, lacked the flamboyant exuberance and, more importantly, the solid numbers investors were looking for. All joking aside, the company's silence is somewhat disconcerting, since most public companies can't wait to share good news with the world.

Finally, Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD  ) stock continued its fairytale run, tacking on 6.4% today. Shares of the drugstore have more than quadrupled in the last year and are up 11% already this year. Wednesday's boost came from JPMorgan Chase, which cited the success of Rite Aid's loyalty program as well as new generic drugs and an increase in the number of insured Americans as catalysts going forward.

The $2.2 trillion war for your living room begins now
The Aereo-Disney dispute is just a sliver of history unfolding before our eyes as the way we consume media changes. You know cable's going away. But do you know how to profit? There's $2.2 trillion out there to be had. Currently, cable grabs a big piece of it. That won't last. And when cable falters, three companies are poised to benefit. Click here for their names. Hint: They're not Netflix, Google, and Apple.

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John Divine

Fool since 2012, unique fingerprints since birth. Age 7: Put lifetime savings ($18.37!) in the bank, became disillusioned with low interest, and a fascination with the stock market was born.

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Related Tickers

8/31/2015 4:57 PM
^DJI $16528.03 Down -114.98 -0.69%
DIS $101.88 Down -0.60 -0.59%
Walt Disney CAPS Rating: *****
JCP $9.11 Up +0.17 +1.90%
J.C. Penney Compan… CAPS Rating: *
RAD $8.25 Up +0.01 +0.12%
Rite Aid Corp CAPS Rating: ***