Yahoo! Jumps on Alibaba IPO Announcment

Markets rise as tensions in Ukraine decline and Dow breaks five-day losing streak.

Mar 17, 2014 at 9:00PM
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As political tensions in Ukraine are easing, the major U.S. indexes performed very well today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) rose 181 points, or 1.13%, while the S&P 500 increased by 0.96% and the Nasdaq rose 0.81%. The indexes not only gained back a large portion of what they lost last week, but the Dow also broke a five-day losing streak.

Nike (NYSE:NKE) was one Dow component apparently pulled higher by the positive market sentiment, rather than company-specific news. Shares of the athletic-apparel company rose 0.84% today even after analysts at Canaccord reiterated their bearish stance on the company. The firm believes Nike's valuation is stretched because of problems arising with foreign exchange rates, margins, and advertising spending ahead of the World Cup. Canaccord has a "hold" rating on the stock with a $71 price target. Nike is expected to report earnings on Thursday, so investors should hold on a few more days before making any buy or sell decisions.  

Outside the Dow, shares of Hertz (NYSE:HTZ) rose 4.77% today after the company announced that it's preparing to spin off its construction equipment rental business. The deal, which activist investors had been pushing for, is expected to value the unit at $4.5 billion. The Herc equipment rental business is very capital intensive, and many believe Hertz's free cash flow will dramatically increase when the unit is split off.  

Another big winner today was Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), up 4.02%. Similar to Hertz's move, Yahoo!'s came after an announcement pertaining to one of the company's business units. Yahoo! owns a large stake in the Chinese equivalent of and eBay, called Alibaba, and the thriving Chinese Internet marketplace announced on Sunday that it will go public in the U.S. later this year. The speculation around going public in the States is that Alibaba may get a higher valuation and more favorable terms, since American capital markets are better funded. If circumstances permit, management said, the company would gain public status in the Chinese capital markets, but not for now. As for Yahoo!, Alibaba's IPO will give it the option of cashing in on a very profitable venture or holding its stake and allowing it to continue to grow on the balance sheet.

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Matt Thalman owns shares of and eBay. The Motley Fool recommends, eBay, Nike, and Yahoo! and owns shares of, eBay, Hertz Global Holdings, and Nike. 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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