Dow Slumps 117 Points; Zulily, Melco Crown Entertainment Get Pummeled

Wal-Mart finishes as the Dow's top performer on a day where 27 of 30 blue chips declined

Jul 8, 2014 at 6:24PM

With all eyes on the beginning of corporate earnings season and investors awaiting guidance from the Federal Reserve tomorrow, the stock market was decidedly bearish today. Like the outcome of the Germany-Brazil World Cup match today, the fate of the markets was more or less clear from the get-go. While Germany railed off five straight goals in a matter of thirty minutes, stocks started deeply in the red and never looked back. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) posted a second-straight day of losses, plunging 117 points, or 0.7%, to end at 16,906.

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) was one of just three Dow stocks to finish in the black, adding 0.8% on Tuesday. Much of Wal-Mart's success today can be directly attributed to an outflow of investment dollars from high-risk names at the benefit of more conservative, high-yield investments. The utilities sector, for example, typically boasts high yields and consistent returns, making it a popular safe haven investment choice. True to form, the utilities sector was the only one to end in the black today. While Wal-Mart's stock pays a 2.5% dividend and is extremely low-risk, consumers are abandoning Wal-Mart for its competitors, and return on investment at the company has been plummeting for the last four years.


Melco Crown's Altira resort. Image Source: Melco Crown

Casino stocks are some of the most high-flying names in the market nowadays, especially those with exposure to the world's gambling capital, Macau. While we all know the risks of putting all your eggs in one basket, it's worked pretty well for Melco Crown Entertainment (NASDAQ:MPEL) and its shareholders in recent years. But with June Macau gaming revenues falling nearly 4% from May, gambling titan Pansy Ho admitting Macau faces growth concerns, and Goldman Sachs cutting its growth estimates on "high-roller" revenue this year, Melco Crown faced an uphill battle Tuesday. The stock tumbled 4.9% in trading today on the confluence of bearish indicators.

With today's sell-off coming mostly at the expense of momentum stocks and lesser-known names, Zulily's (NASDAQ:ZU) stock had a target on its back. Shares of the online, mom-facing flash-sales retailer went public last November, and have been volatility incarnate ever since. True to form, Zulily shares fell 6.7% Tuesday. While today's slump was clearly somewhat reactionary, the business is young and investors face some big risks. While revenue soared an unbelievable 87% in the first quarter, it has had some difficulty fulfilling orders, which could threaten the company's growth rate if shipping times are substantially affected as a result.

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John Divine has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter, @divinebizkid, and on Motley Fool CAPS, @TMFDivine.

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A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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