J.C. Penney Releases Holiday Sales Numbers; Renren Rallies

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 has its proverbial first date with Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen tomorrow. Yellen will speak before Congress for the first time since taking the top spot at the central bank from Ben Bernanke on Feb. 1. Stocks were a bit nervous about how it would go for much of the day, but after applying some cologne and talking to itself in the mirror, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) ended with gains on Monday. While the Dow finished in the black, it added just 7 points, or less than 0.1%, to end at 15,801. 

In courting Yellen tomorrow, Wall Street will want to know things like: "Do you even like quantitative easing?" "Are you committed to it for the long term?" and "How big is this stimulus package going to be?" or "How long will it last?"

Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) stock has all the ingredients it takes for companies to last a long time. My colleague Chad Henage thinks Disney has an entertainment pipeline that allows it to keep clobbering the competition for years to come, and I tend to agree with him. So does Wall Street, which sent the stock up 1.8% today; shares are up more than 10% in the past five sessions, as investors continue to applaud Disney's blowout fourth quarter.

Shares of J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP  ) also posted nice gains Monday, adding 3.6% in trading after finally releasing its holiday same-store-sales figures. Many shareholders feared same-store sales growth would be a catastrophe when the department store infamously issued a terse press release about its holiday sales last month -- a press release that included no specific numbers about its holiday sales. Now we know that J.C. Penney's same-store revenue grew by 3.1% in November and December from the same period in 2012, which isn't setting any records, but still gives some hope that the company is on the right path once again.

Lastly, shares of Chinese social networking website Renren (NYSE: RENN  ) tacked on 5.6% Monday on heavy trading volume. An acquisition offer by e-commerce giant Alibaba to purchase AutoNavi Holdings gave Chinese tech stocks a lift today. The offer doesn't, strictly speaking, affect Renren, which already sold off the remaining portion of its daily deals site Nuomi.com to search giant Baidu in January.

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