Dow Sheds 153 Points; J.C. Penney Soars

Walt Disney and Zulily also end as big movers; Russian aggression hits stocks.

Mar 3, 2014 at 6:24PM

Escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine over the weekend hit the stock market today, as increasingly hostile rhetoric between Russia and the West sent investors rushing into safer assets. Russian forces invaded Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula over the weekend, purporting to defend the native ethnic Russians in the region, although the natural resources in the region provide another compelling motive entirely. Regardless of the politics behind the move, the Cold War-era rhetoric spooked investors, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) spiraling 153 points, or 0.9%, lower, to end at 16,168. 

On a day when literally every Dow component lost ground, Walt Disney's (NYSE:DIS) 1.7% decline wasn't particularly aberrant, but it was the third-largest blue chip decliner Monday. It's a shame Disney couldn't parlay yesterday's Oscar win -- Frozen won for best animated feature, as expected -- into some gains today. While Oscars don't typically occupy too much of investors' time (unless you threw down your retirement money on an Oscar pool, in which case you may have a gambling problem), Frozen's $1 billion in box office sales is hard to ignore. And when the songwriters behind Frozen's Oscar-winning best original song chimed in unison, "let's do Frozen 2!" in their acceptance speech last night, Disney shareholders had a reason to care: all signs point to this being the beginning of a wildly profitable franchise.

J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) investors, on the other hand, seemed to have tuned in to the Oscars. The department store launched a new ad campaign during the Academy Awards last night, airing six different spots promoting its spring 2014 collection. Could it be that the company's long-awaited turnaround is finally materializing? Last week, J.C. Penney stock spiked 25% as the company posted a far slimmer fourth-quarter loss than analysts expected, and same-store sales increased 2% from the year before. But slimmer losses aren't going to cut it going forward, and with J.C. Penney's decision to do away with monthly sales reports as it recovers, investors won't be able to check in on its progress quite as frequently.

Lastly, flash sales women's apparel company Zulily (NASDAQ:ZU) saw shares slump 5% today. The company, which targets moms, went public in November, and has been wildly popular with investors since its debut day, when shares soared 71%. More importantly, however, the company absolutely crushed earnings estimates last week, as quarterly profits more than tripled. Zulily, while both the company and the stock are on a roll, could start to see more competition in the flash-sales business now that it's emphatically proven the concept.

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John Divine has long January 2015 $10 calls on J.C. Penney. You can follow him on Twitter, @divinebizkid, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFDivine.

The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Walt Disney. 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.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.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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