Dow Hits a New Record as McDonald's and Apple Consider New Products

The blue chips had just modest gains, but scraped its former record to finish at 16,583. Meanwhile, McDonald's and Apple both made headlines on ideas to change their product lines.

May 9, 2014 at 10:00PM

Despite spending the morning in the red, stocks rose in the afternoon to finish with modest gains, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) set a new closing record. The blue chips tacked on 32 points, or 0.2%, for the day to finish at 16,583, just edging past its former closing high of 16,581 set on April 30. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq, meanwhile, gained 0.2% and 0.5%, respectively.

With no major economic reports influencing investors, and earnings season complete for the vast majority of big-name stocks, it was a relatively quiet day on Wall Street. Investors continued to keep one eye on events in the Ukraine as recent data showing strong economic growth and better-than-expected earnings from the first quarter has kept stocks near record highs.


McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) led the blue chips into record territory today, gaining 1% on reports that it may add seasoned french fries to its menu. Fries are a hallmark of the fast-food king, but rivals have been expanding their selection, as Wendy's introduced natural-cut fries, and Burger King unveiled a lower-calorie selection in recent years. McDonald's has decided to respond by testing flavor packs in three varieties -- garlic parmesan, spicy buffalo, and zesty ranch -- in two markets starting today. Customers would add the seasoning to the fries and shake them up in the bag. The news comes the day after the burger chain posted a 1.2% gain in comparable sales, an improvement over its first-quarter clip at 0.5%. Though the company promised to refocus on its core offerings, the seasoned fries offer an example of the many potential add-ons McDonald's can roll out to spice up its menu.

Also sparking curiosity today were rumors that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was preparing to buy headphone-maker Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. The acquisition would be the biggest in Apple's history, but would be a surprising one, as it does not seem to give the iPhone maker access to anything particularly unique, technology or otherwise. Headphones seem like a natural expansion for the iOS ecosystem, as Apple's earbuds can be uncomfortable and difficult to untangle, and Beats targets a similar customer. Beats also offers a music streaming service, but Apple recently rolled out its own in iTunes Radio last fall. The deal remains just a rumor at this point, and Apple shares finished down 0.4% on the day, indicating that investors may not be thrilled with the idea. With the tens of billions Apple has in its coffers, I'd like to see it moving toward more futurisitic technology if it's going to make a big-name acquisition like this one.  

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Jeremy Bowman owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and McDonald's. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. 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.

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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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