It looks like the real estate market could be back on the move again, as housing starts in April came in 13.2% above their March levels. After a two-day, 268-point drop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) managed to finish higher on Friday, tacking on 44 points, or 0.3%, to end at 16,491. Home Depot (NYSE:HD) helped the Dow advance today, while World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE:WWE) and J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) both finished as some of the day's most notable stocks.
Home Depot shareholders were naturally encouraged by April housing data, which show developers breaking ground on 26.4% more projects than they did in the same period just a year ago. With Home Depot's growth so dependent upon the health of the housing market, it's comforting to see some really solid spring numbers, which seem to hint that the slow winter really was partially caused by its unusual harshness. The stock added 1.5% on the news, finishing as the second-best performer in the Dow.
Investors in World Wrestling Entertainment felt nothing but a world of pain on Friday, as shares plummeted, cratering 43.5%. The hit comes after WWE reached a deal with Comcast's NBCUniversal, in which the network will broadcast WWE's Raw and SmackDown shows. Vague terms of the deal were outlined, and Wall Street was not happy with the little intel it gained. The multiyear agreement will be worth around $200 million annually for WWE, but investors apparently expected more -- much, much more, if today's plunge is any indication.
Finally, shares of J.C. Penney didn't disappoint, rallying 16.3% on Friday after reporting first-quarter results that easily topped expectations. Same-store sales jumped 6.3% from the year-ago quarter, gross margins expanded from 30.8% to 33.1%, and store traffic rose last month for the first time in two-and-a-half years. While this is all stellar news for J.C. Penney shareholders, the question every long-term investor should be asking themselves remains: When will the company start making money again?
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