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.
Wall Street is not known for its rationality. It's a place of chaotic swings, where billions of dollars change hands each day as the emotional pendulum swings between euphoria and despair. Today, for some reason, Wall Street was much closer to euphoria, even as the long-awaited monthly jobs report came in significantly below expectations. The economy added just 113,000 jobs last month, a far cry from the 189,000 analysts were calling for. Despite this, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) surged 165 points, or 1.1%, to end at 15,794.
Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT) tagged along for the ride, adding 1.3% on Friday, ending as one of the Dow's top gainers. There was no significant news today surrounding the world's largest retailer, but going forward, keep an eye on Wal-Mart's international expansion plans, which should be closely scrutinized by shareholders. Its push into the low-margin grocery business in the last decade has proven to be a sound strategy, and the company recently announced plans to invest heavily in the grocery business in its Canadian locations, as well.
Shares of a company with far greater growth potential, Outerwall (NASDAQ: OUTR), rallied 12.2% Friday, as it announced plans to execute a $350 million share repurchase program, which began in earnest today. The current market value of Outerwall stock is just $1.93 billion, so today's announcement represents a significant commitment by the owner of the DVD-rental service Redbox, and change-conversion kiosk Coinstar. Today's announcement is great on the face of things, but competitively speaking, Outerwall's Redbox service will need to embrace online streaming to stay relevant -- a task that could be hard to do with such a multitude of competitors in the space already.
Lastly, shares of Pandora Media (NYSE: P) added 6.6% Friday, rebounding from Thursday's steep 10.1% sell-off. Shares of the streaming music provider took a hit yesterday after the company's full-year guidance managed to underwhelm investors. Pandora's growth is inevitably slowing as, like Redbox, the business faces an increasingly crowded field of competition in streaming media. It's nice to see Pandora finally turn a quarterly profit, but I don't think the company's competitive advantages are strong enough to merit the stock as a long-term cornerstone of a solid portfolio.
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