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What Happened in the Stock Market Today

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos - Mar 20, 2017 at 4:59PM

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Disney and FireEye stocks stood out as indexes dipped.

Stocks finished lower on Monday, with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.00%) and the S&P 500 (^GSPC -0.88%) losing ground.

Today's stock market

Index

Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow

(0.04%)

(8.76)

S&P 500

(0.20%)

(4.78)

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Financial stocks took a break from recent gains by trailing the broader market, which pushed the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF -0.88%) down 0.8% for the day. On the winning side, gold prices rose, and that allowed the leveraged Direxion Daily Jr Gold Miners Bull 3X ETF (JNUG -7.39%) to surge higher by 5.4%.

Among individual stocks, Walt Disney (DIS -1.31%) and FireEye (MNDT 0.41%) were two notable movers.

Outside the stock exchange in New York.

Image source: Getty Images.

Disney's beast of a weekend

Disney was one of the Dow's bigger gainers, with shares rising almost 1% following a strong box office weekend for the House of Mouse. The live-action reimagining of Beauty and the Beast generated $170 million in domestic receipts, according to Box Office Mojo, or enough to make it the largest March opening on record. Analysts had expected $130 million to $150 million for movie's debut weekend.

The release ranks as the seventh strongest opening of all time, just behind 2013's Iron Man 3, another Disney property. Solid reviews from movie fans and a big appetite for the brand in international markets suggest that Beauty and the Beast could rake in $1 billion or more over the next few months. "There are almost no words to fully capture how gratifying it is to see a result like this," a Disney executive told The Los Angeles Times.

Disney's overall business is likely to take a step backwards in fiscal 2017 following six straight years of record results. That small decline is mostly due to banner theatrical and consumer products results tied to the prior year's reboot of the Star Wars franchise, though. As this latest movie release demonstrates, the entertainment giant is busy laying the foundation for future revenue growth across its theme park, studio, media, and consumer product divisions. Shareholders are growing optimistic that these wins will set the business up for a record fiscal year that starts this fall and includes the next installment in the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi, set for release in December.

FireEye gets upgraded

Shares of cybersecurity specialist FireEye jumped almost 9% after receiving a head-turning upgrade. The stock was moved to a buy rating from neutral by Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Tal Liani, who also increased his price target to $18 per share from the prior $13.50 mark.

An illustration of cybersecurity at work.

Image source: Getty Images.

Liani cited FireEye's "significant upside potential" that could be unlocked by faster sales growth than Wall Street is expecting.

Even after Monday's jump, the stock has plunged over 36% over the past 12 months. There are good reasons for the shareholder revolt. In early February, for example, the company announced that revenue growth has slowed to a crawl as sales and billings figures both missed executives' forecasts. Turnover continued to plague the company at the highest management levels, too, as its chief financial officer announced plans to leave the company.

It's possible that Wall Street has grown overly pessimistic about this stock, potentially setting the stage for a rally if FireEye posts a recovery in billings for the second half of this year. Still, conservative investors are better off waiting for real evidence of a turnaround before jumping into shares of this struggling business.

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Stocks Mentioned

The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
DIS
$94.40 (-1.31%) $-1.25
Mandiant, Inc. Stock Quote
Mandiant, Inc.
MNDT
$21.82 (0.41%) $0.09
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$31,029.31 (0.00%) $0.00
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$3,785.38 (-0.88%) $-33.45
The Select Sector SPDR Trust - The Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund Stock Quote
The Select Sector SPDR Trust - The Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund
XLF
$31.45 (-0.88%) $0.28
Direxion Shares ETF Trust - Direxion Daily Junior Gold Miners Index Bull 3X Shares Stock Quote
Direxion Shares ETF Trust - Direxion Daily Junior Gold Miners Index Bull 3X Shares
JNUG
$33.46 (-7.39%) $-2.67

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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