Confident Consumers Send Dow Higher; IBM, Caterpillar Jump, But Disney Deal Fails to Inspire

Positive economic data sent the Dow up sharply, but can the rally last? Find out more here.

Mar 25, 2014 at 11:00AM

The Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) began Tuesday on good footing, gaining 41 points as of 11 a.m. EDT in the wake of solid indications that consumers have confidence in the U.S. economy's recovery. The Conference Board's reading of consumer confidence for March rose by four points to 82.3, offsetting concerns about a 3.3% drop in new-home sales last month. In addition, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser gave investors some reassurance that the Fed didn't intend to signal a huge policy change via Chairwoman Janet Yellen's comments in her press conference last week. Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) both posted impressive gains, but Disney (NYSE:DIS) dropped despite announcing a new acquisition.

BullIBM gained 1.6% after announcing a new collaboration with Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) to provide hybrid cloud location services. The partnership, which involves IBM's platform-as-a-service offering code named BlueMix, is designed to help IBM clients discover more information about their own customers, making it easier to offer tailored customer service and products that are relevant to their particular geography. For Pitney Bowes, the opportunity to appear as a third party on IBM's BlueMix is critical to its broader strategy of providing enterprise-based solutions; Pitney stock rose more than 1% in morning trading. For IBM, the move demonstrates the value of its platform and could lead to further collaborations.

Caterpillar climbed nearly 2% even as it faces Senate scrutiny regarding how the heavy-equipment maker handled its international taxes. On April 1, the Senate will add Caterpillar to its list of companies that it has examined in connection with using offshore entities and cross-border transactions to control tax liability; Caterpillar plans to testify alongside its accounting firm at a committee hearing. For Caterpillar, though, the issue is arguably less important than signs of a stronger economy, especially since it is far from the only company using techniques to minimize U.S. taxation.

Finally, Disney gave up early gains and eased downward by 0.6% after announcing last night that it would buy online-video producer Maker Studios for $500 million and a potential earnout of up to $450 million more. Unlike Disney's past acquisitions of companies such as Pixar and Marvel, Maker Studios doesn't have the track record that guarantees success from the transaction. Yet the move represents Disney's recognition of the importance of online video, and in time it could help Disney become a bigger player in that growing space to round out its multimedia offerings.

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Dan Caplinger owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of International Business Machines and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

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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