A Rejuvenated J.C. Penney Soars; Netflix Rallies on Growth, Price Hike

Home Depot, feeling the love of spring, ends as one of the best stocks in the Dow on Monday

Apr 21, 2014 at 6:22PM

With Easter just behind us and Passover nearly over as well, the stock market returned from its three-day weekend and finished the day with muted optimism. Most stocks advanced, but major European markets were closed today, and trading volume was light. Investors will have plenty to think about in the next few days, as a slew of companies report quarterly earnings and data about home sales and jobless claims become public. But on Monday the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) edged modestly higher, gaining 40 points, or 0.3%, to end at 16,449. 

Home Depot (NYSE:HD) nearly finished as the best-performing stock in the Dow today, with gains of 1.1%. My colleague Daniel James believes that the stronger-than-expected sales growth we saw from U.S. retailers in March bodes especially well for Home Depot going forward. The company, too, sees brighter times ahead, forecasting a pickup in overall sales and same-store sales in the coming quarters. Existing home sales in March as well as new home sales for last month should both be released by mid-week, giving investors a better gauge of how the real estate market is holding up.

J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP), another company that would likely benefit if consumers continue to flee from their homes and head to the mall as the weather improves, roared 9.2% higher on Monday. The sudden optimism is a little enigmatic; J.C. Penney won't report quarterly earnings until next month, and little of note happened with the company today. A volatile stock in the middle of a turnaround effort, shareholders watch each quarter with bated breath, watching carefully for ominous verbiage. Fellow contributor Brandy Betz wonders if the company can build a competitive advantage. So do I.

What I don't wonder about is Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), which boasts a number of competitive advantages. Its share of the video-streaming market in the U.S. is high, it's a highly recognized and trusted name, and it's also begun developing some critically acclaimed shows of its own, strengthening its appeal to new customers. As a first-mover in the area, it was able to snap up customers early, retain them over time, and grow by word of mouth. Netflix also has plans to expand internationally. More important, Netflix beat earnings estimates in the fourth quarter, and reached 4 million domestic and international subscribers, far more than the 3.85 million analysts expected. It's also planning on bumping up its monthly price to new subscribers by one to two dollars per month, which should do wonders for Netflix's margins.

6 stock picks poised for incredible growth
They said it couldn't be done. But David Gardner has proved them wrong time, and time, and time again with stock returns like 926%, 2,239%, and 4,371%. In fact, just recently one of his favorite stocks became a 100-bagger. And he's ready to do it again. You can uncover his scientific approach to crushing the market and his carefully chosen six picks for ultimate growth instantly, because he's making this premium report free for you today. Click here now for access.

John Divine has options on J.C. Penney. You can follow him on Twitter, @divinebizkid, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFDivine.

The Motley Fool recommends Home Depot and Netflix and owns shares of Netflix. 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.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

Something big just happened

I don't know about you, but I always pay attention when one of the best growth investors in the world gives me a stock tip. Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner (whose growth-stock newsletter was rated #1 in the world by The Wall Street Journal)* and his brother, Motley Fool CEO Tom Gardner, just revealed two brand new stock recommendations moments ago. Together, they've tripled the stock market's return over 12+ years. And while timing isn't everything, the history of Tom and David's stock picks shows that it pays to get in early on their ideas.

Click here to be among the first people to hear about David and Tom's newest stock recommendations.

*"Look Who's on Top Now" appeared in The Wall Street Journal which references Hulbert's rankings of the best performing stock picking newsletters over a 5-year period from 2008-2013.

Compare Brokers