Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, who assumed leadership at the U.S. central bank in February, has made one thing crystal clear in her early days on the job: Interest rates ain't goin' nowhere -- not anytime soon, at least. Yellen reiterated the Fed's commitment to an accommodative monetary policy on Wednesday. The central bank, she said, wants to see the U.S. reach full employment before hiking rates. I'm willing to wager that most job-seekers are on board with that idea. Wall Street certainly dug her message, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) advanced for a third straight day, adding 162 points, or 1%, to end at 16,424.
Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS ) shares tacked on a solid 1.7%, finishing as one of the Dow's top gainers. The stock pulled back with the rest of the market during the recent downturn, yet remains less than 6% below its March highs. Personally I love the company, in no small part because of its top-tier management. CEO Bob Iger has a knack for making prescient large acquisitions, picking up Pixar in 2006 and later Marvel in 2009. Marvel's Cinematic Universe is now officially the top-grossing movie franchise of all-time, beating out the Harry Potter series and the Star Wars films. Oh, Iger also spearheaded the acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, which puts Disney in the position to make gobs of money when it gives fans yet another Star Wars trilogy in the coming years.
Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL ) shares soared today, logging 5.4% gains as the stock got back to its winning ways. Shares have doubled in the last year alone and have surged more than 360% in the last five years, as the company shores up its balance sheet while boosting sales. Revenue has increased every year since 2009, during which time Delta's long-term debt situation has also been improving annually. Less debt means lower interest expenses, and as sales trend higher and costs trend lower, the laws of simple arithmetic sent profits ascending to new heights each year as well. If fuel costs rise significantly, Delta (along with its competition) will suffer, but financially speaking, the business is doing just fine.
Although the broader stock market got a boost today from Janet Yellen's dovish remarks, Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) shares still tumbled 2.1%. Investors weren't fond of the management shakeup yesterday: The head of Best Buy's U.S. retail operations is stepping down after nearly 30 years at the company. The move comes as Best Buy is trying to firmly entrench itself as an electronics showroom; a place where customers can come to interact with high-dollar gadgets. While it'll be tough to compete with the scale and low overhead of Amazon.com, Best Buy is carving out its own niche in retail, and in doing so it's managed to avoid the fate of former peer Circuit City, which went bust in 2008.
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