The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) marched slowly 0.70% higher this week after a number of decent, albeit unspectacular, economic reports. The Federal Reserve's April meeting also showed a desire to make a plan for raising rates but little consensus on when to do it. Markets cheered that, because it may mean low rates well into 2015.
Disney (NYSE: DIS ) was this week's top stock, rising 3.6%, on a few incrementally positive news items. Disneyland said it would raise ticket prices, this time from $92 to $96. Theme parks have seen increased demand as the economy has recovered, and the company thought now is the time to make more money from that demand. A Frozen ice show was also announced, capturing demand for last year's top children's movie. Finally, a Star Wars spinoff to be released after Episode VII was announced. This is similar to new spinoffs from Marvel and generates increasing value and buzz for characters from the $4 billion Lucasfilm acquisition.
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH ) was up 2.8% for the week, a continued rise we've seen in the insurance industry. As investors become more familiar with how the Affordable Care Act will affect them, investors are starting to see the value of a new pool of insurance buyers. Just 15.6% of adults were uninsured at the end of March, according to a Gallup study, down from 17.1% in 2008. These insurance buyers increase the revenue and risk pool for companies like UnitedHealth, which has the option to grow in the individual market if it chooses to.
Nike (NYSE: NKE ) rounds out the Dow's top three stocks, gaining 2.6% this week. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company is in talks with Manchester United to sponsor the team and provide clothing and other equipment. Nike is becoming a powerhouse in soccer, and sponsorships are a big piece of that. With the World Cup just weeks away, it's also a time to get some exposure while the world's eyes are on the games in Brazil. This wouldn't be another game changer for Nike, but it would be another key sponsorship that helps drive value long-term.
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