The Dow Stays Flat As World Cup Players Disney, Nike Finish Mixed

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) finished the session up just five points, with a relatively quiet trading day in which the Dow was down as much as 50 points and up more than 25 points before falling back closer to the unchanged level. Geopolitical tension played a role in holding the Dow back, even as signs of growth in industrial production gave ammunition to the bullish argument for U.S. stocks. Yet as the sporting world looks southward to Brazil, Dow components Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) and Nike (NYSE: NKE  ) saw mixed results after an exciting weekend of World Cup play.


Source: Wikimedia Commons, Agencia Brazil.

Disney rose 0.6%, with the company's ESPN sports network and ABC aiming to reap the benefits of the big bet on soccer that it made almost a decade ago. In 2005, ESPN and ABC paid just $100 million for the English-language broadcast rights in the U.S. for the men's and women's World Cup tournaments from 2007 to 2014, which looked like a huge bargain compared to the $325 million that Univision paid for Spanish-language U.S. broadcast rights. Disney hopes that the increase in popularity in soccer over that time span, especially among younger viewers, will produce long-term wins for the company. Also helping lift Disney was schadenfreude following DreamWorks Animation's lackluster release of its sequel to How to Train Your Dragon, which once again validated the success that Disney has had in managing and converting on opportunities with its own high-profile series franchises.

Source: Nike.

Nike, meanwhile, fell 0.1%. Nike has made a big push into soccer at this year's World Cup, challenging rival Adidas for supremacy in the sport. Yet with a poor showing from Portugal today and a loss from England as well over the weekend, endorsements from Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and England's Wayne Rooney might not prove as valuable as Nike had hoped. A lot depends on the fate of the U.S. soccer team, as a failure to make at least a strong showing in group play could leave mainstream U.S. viewers unexcited by the tournament.

Investors shouldn't overestimate the impact of a single sporting event even on stocks that have a lot at stake from them. The World Cup is a big deal, but by itself, it's unlikely to move the Dow Jones Industrials substantially in the long run -- even if it makes up an important part of the strategy for Dow components Disney and Nike.

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