The stock market advanced again on Monday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) logged a fourth straight day of gains, reaching record intraday highs in the process. With earnings season largely behind us and little breaking economic news, investors showed their willingness to assume more risk in the pursuit of higher returns today. Eight in 10 sectors advanced, with the more conservative utilities and telecom sectors ending as the only laggards. The Dow, for its part, jumped 112 points, or 0.7%, to end at 16,695.
Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) shares, which added 0.6%, have outperformed the Dow thus far in 2014, tacking on nearly 8% to the Dow's 0.7%. Today the tech and media news site Re/code reported that Disney had officially closed its acquisition of Maker Studios, one of YouTube's largest networks. The purchase cost Disney $500 million, and the House of Mouse could shell out an additional $450 million depending on Maker's performance. Only time can tell how the pickup pans out, but Disney's been proactive in embracing new, web-based distribution platforms, and I applaud the company for being forward-looking in that respect.
Investors in a more traditional studio, Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF), saw their shares rise 2.6% today. Lions Gate doesn't enjoy the vast resources Disney has at its command, relying on a more limited number of tent-pole films each year to support it financially. The studio behind the massively successful Hunger Games franchise also debuted the first movie in another trilogy, Divergent, in March. The film has been a commercial success, grossing more than $250 million worldwide on a budget of $85 million. Investors will be eagerly awaiting the reception of the company's biggest 2014 release, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 in November.
Lastly, Pandora Media (NYSE:P) surged 6% on Monday. Shares of the streaming music provider have been punished by Wall Street recently, plunging 30% in three months as high-growth tech stocks took a severe beating. With the risk-on appetite seen in the stock market today and technology names back in vogue, Pandora merely rode the trends higher Monday. In the long-term, I'm unsure that Pandora's high content acquisition costs, along with a more and more crowded streaming music environment, will act in favor of shareholders.
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