Stocks finished the second quarter on a lower note Monday, despite compelling data that show the housing market may be getting back on its feet once again. Pending home sales in May soared 6.1% from April, the largest month-over-month gain since April 2010. The good news apparently wasn't enough to send the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) into positive territory; the index lost 25 points, or 0.2% today, ending at 16,826.
McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) was one blue chip stock that didn't help the index escape from the red on Monday, as shares lost 0.7%. The famed fast-food burger behemoth faces a number of obstacles as it tries to reignite growth and fend of relentless competition. In what's been dubbed the "breakfast wars," Yum! Brands' Taco Bell is the latest fast food chain to launch a breakfast menu and advertise it heavily. Desperate for ways to grow sales, McDonald's has now even launched its own app that allows users to order before they arrive. In some locations, they've launched kiosks and multiple drive-through windows to speed up service. What's next, delivery?
Ameresco (NYSE: AMRC ) , which consults, designs, develops and installs energy-efficient systems primarily for commercial, industrial, and governmental clients, saw shares fall 3% in the stock market today. Fellow Motley Fool contributor Jason Hall highlights several concerning issues that Ameresco investors should be aware of, from declining revenues, to stiff competition, to a reliance on government spending in a time where "government spending" is an ugly phrase. And I must agree that any public company that logged fewer sales in 2013 ($574 MM) than it did in 2010 ($618 MM) has earned itself some skepticism.
Lastly, shares of King Digital Entertainment (NYSE: KING ) were kings of the market on Monday, soaring 15.1%. The mobile game developer, best known for its highly addictive and colorful Candy Crush Saga game, saw its stock upgraded by two Wall Street analysts today ahead of upcoming game launches. As I wrote on Friday after King Digital shares tacked on more than 5% and unusual options activity caught people's attention, "there seems to be something going on behind the scenes here." Who knows if the well-timed options purchases last week were the result of a leak about today's analyst upgrades or simply a random surge in activity, but the whole ordeal smells a little fishy.
Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning -- it may shock you)
Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee that its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are even claiming that its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts that 485 million of these devices will be sold per year. But one small company makes this gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and to see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!