The Dow Keeps Inching Higher on Disney, JPMorgan Strength

The Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  )  climbed another 21 points as of 11 a.m. EDT Monday to move further into uncharted territory from record levels reached last week. Investors are maintaining their complacency in the light of solid economic performance in the U.S.; while speeches from Federal Reserve officials could introduce some uncertainty into the market, few expect a major deviation from the policy course the Fed has set over the past year. Helping to send the Dow higher were Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) , which were among the best performers early Monday.


Source: Disney.

Disney climbed nearly 1% as the entertainment giant continued to see solid success from its latest film release. After a $70 million opening weekend, Maleficent fell back to No. 2 on the box-office depth chart this past weekend, with $33.5 million trailing only the newly released film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars and bringing Maleficent's total take so far to more than $127 million. In its typical fashion, Disney aims to use the title character's distinctive appearance as a driver for merchandising sales, with makeup, clothing, and jewelry already centered on Angelina Jolie's portrayal of the villain of the Sleeping Beauty story. The film doesn't appear likely to approach Disney's biggest successes, but it nevertheless shows the star power that the company is able to tap in furthering its broader business agenda.

JPMorgan Chase rose over two-thirds of a percent as the global financial powerhouse took steps to shore up its foreign operations. Reports over the weekend addressed a number of shifts worldwide for JPMorgan, including the naming of a new head of its Asian mergers and acquisitions group after its current leader resigned after a distinguished career at the investment firm. JPMorgan also hired a new head for its European institutional business, poaching top talent from its Dow-component investment banking rival. With the moves, JPMorgan is following the same efforts as its other primary investment bank competitors in recognizing the value of foreign financial markets, especially in the red-hot M&A market. With U.S. regulatory scrutiny ever on the rise, finding growth opportunities elsewhere is the best solution for JPMorgan's long-term strategy.

With the Dow Jones Industrials less than 100 points away from the 17,000 mark, expect plenty of attention to the possibility of setting a new milestone. Long-term investors, though, should look beyond those considerations to think about whether strategic moves from Disney, JPMorgan Chase, and other members of the Dow Jones Industrials can help the stock market keep setting new records.

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