The Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) were up 47 points as of 11 a.m. EDT Friday and aiming for a third-straight positive day. Economic data showed that new-home sales jumped 6.4% in April, reversing declines in the previous two months. Falling mortgage rates likely played a part in the news. Nike (NYSE: NKE ) and Disney (NYSE: DIS ) were among the best Dow performers in early trading, as shareholders evaluated some interesting new developments for both companies.
Nike climbed 1.5% on reports that the athletic giant is in talks with British soccer team Manchester United regarding a sponsorship deal. The well-known club could produce a contract worth $600 million, although Manchester United's poor showing in the English Premier League this season caused it to fail to qualify for wider European competition for the first time in a quarter-century. Few expect Man U to stay down for long, but Nike might gain some leverage because of the team's relative failure in the 2013-14 season and potentially pay less than it otherwise would for a long-term sponsorship that could have huge value for years and decades to come. Given the need for the high-growth apparel stock to demonstrate its ability to keep boosting revenue, Nike's attention to the soccer world lately has been of utmost importance in this World Cup year and will continue to drive overall results for the Dow component.
Disney climbed almost 1%. A steady stream of news about the coming revival of the Star Wars franchise is bringing plenty of attention to the multimedia giant, as Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm will have its first opportunity to prove its true value late next year, when the seventh installment of the original movie series comes out. Even though Disney expects to keep the core series at its originally intended count of nine releases, spinoff films will provide the company with an opportunity to make even more money from the popular franchise. Moreover, as excitement builds about the release, Disney's prowess in cross-marketing promotional merchandise will kick into gear, with full lines of new toys, games, action figures, and other related materials demonstrating the House of Mouse's ability to wring great profit from its most lucrative assets. Added to strong conditions with ESPN and in its theme-park division, Disney has the ability to keep the Dow Jones Industrials moving toward new record highs.
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