Verizon Powers Up the Dow's Triple-Digit Surge

Stocks have boomed on the day and haven't slowed down after the release of the Federal Open Market Committee's minutes, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) began today's trading session with a jump and never looked back. The Dow gained more than 150 points on the day, with all but two of its member stocks in the green. Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) made the most of the day, climbing 1.1% -- a stark contrast to AT&T (NYSE: T  ) , which fell to the bottom of the Dow as talk continued to swirl around its recent agreement to acquire DIRECTV. Meanwhile, earnings season ran afoul for one of the country's largest retailers. Let's catch up on what you need to know.

Verizon won't follow AT&T's path
Verizon's moving high on the Dow so far, but not because it's making moves like chief rival AT&T. America's largest wireless provider, in contrast, shot down fleeting rumors of a potential Dish Network acquisition to compete against AT&T's mammoth $48.5 billion buyout of DIRECTV. Verizon has focused on dominating the wireless space, rather than expanding beyond its core business as AT&T has with the DIRECTV negotiation, upgrading its nationwide spectrum in order to cement its leadership. Analysts have praised Verizon's moves, highlighting the opportunities for growth in the wireless space -- even if it won't boast quite the video portfolio of AT&T, should the latter clear regulatory hurdles in its acquisition.

Yet Verizon might not be conceding video dominance so easily to the competition. Sources told the New York Post that the company's pushing toward establishing its own video streaming business via broadband and wireless, seeking to compete with the likes of Netflix. While any launch of a video service is likely far off, it's clear Verizon's interested in growing in ways that will complement its core businesses.

Not quite a bull's-eye
Earnings season has rolled into the retail sector, and today brought pain for Target (NYSE: TGT  ) . The retailer's net profit fell by 16% year over year in its most recent quarter, and adjusted earnings missed out on analyst expectations. The company cited its data breach over the holidays as weighing particularly hard on profit, costing $18 million in net earnings for the quarter. Still, investors haven't been entirely disappointed today: Target's stock gained about 1% today.

Target managed to boost its sales by more than 2% for the quarter, but same-store sales growth has been a tricky proposition: Revenue from locations open at least 13 months dropped by 0.3% year over year. While Target's trying to appease investors by shoring up its lagging Canadian business, the firm lowered its full-year guidance and looks to be in for a tougher ride than expected through 2014. The ongoing climb of the economy should keep consumers headed back to retailers nationwide, but for Target, the goal of increasing growth in its U.S. stores looks like a long-term struggle.

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