Delta Air Lines, priceline.com Continue to Dazzle Investors

Home Depot stock helps send Dow lower despite generally bullish sentiment.

Jan 21, 2014 at 6:01PM

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.

Six in 10 stocks ended in the black Tuesday, as markets began a shortened week of trading posting cautious gains. There wasn't much new data for investors today, and -- with the notable exception of companies reporting quarterly earnings -- this week looks to be light on economic news. For those living and working nearby Wall Street this week, bundle up! The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for New York City this afternoon, with estimates calling for as much as a foot of snow. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI), in contrast with the other two major U.S. indices, lost ground today, shedding 44 points, or 0.3%, to end at 16,414.

Home Depot (NYSE:HD) shares didn't help the blue chip index Tuesday, shedding 0.7% as the services sector sold off slightly. While the weather may be cooling down, Home Depot's intense rivalry with its direct competitor Lowe's is heating up. Last week Lowe's made an interesting play, partnering with start-up Porch.com, a Seattle-based business that aims to connect consumers with contractors for various home-improvement projects. Although the upside is probably greater for Porch.com than Lowe's, you can bet that Home Depot's top brass will be keeping a close eye on how last week's move plays out. 

Bucking the bearish trend in the services sector today, Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) stock soared 3.3% after fourth-quarter results topped Wall Street expectations. The company, technically speaking, netted $8.5 billion last quarter, despite logging just $7.9 billion in sales. Sure, Delta may owe this honor to an $8 billion one-time tax credit, but the coupling of rising sales, traffic, and capacity with falling fuel costs and reduced debt make this stock hard to ignore.

Lastly, shares of the online travel-booking company priceline.com (NASDAQ:PCLN) tacked on 2.3% Tuesday. Priceline stock reached a 52-week high during trading today, some of its gains likely due to the woes of a direct competitor, Expedia. In a story first broken by SearchEngineLand yesterday, Expedia is likely being temporarily punished by Google and its all-powerful search algorithm for boosting its search engine rank by using methods Google doesn't approve of. Priceline and other Expedia competitors should be the direct beneficiaries of Expedia's traffic losses from the incident. 

The Motley Fool's top stock for 2014
Shares in Delta Air Lines and priceline.com have both either doubled or nearly doubled from their low points in the past year. That said, there's a huge difference between a good stock and a stock that can make you rich. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Fool contributor John Divine owns shares of Google. You can follow him on Twitter, @divinebizkid, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFDivine.

The Motley Fool recommends Google, Home Depot, and priceline.com and owns shares of Google and priceline.com. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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