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What Happened in the Stock Market Today

By Steve Symington - Updated Dec 27, 2018 at 5:05PM

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On a volatile day for the markets, see why AMD and NVIDIA stumbled.

Major stock market indexes swung wildly on Thursday, plunging several percentage points in the morning before staging a remarkable recovery in the final hour and a half of trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.00%) and the S&P 500 (^GSPC 1.99%) ultimately gained around 1%.

Today's stock market

Index Percentage Change Point Change
Dow 1.14% 260.37
S&P 500 0.86% 21.13

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Retail stocks fared worse than most after yesterday's impressive rally, leaving the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 4.78%) down 0.3%. Tech stocks jumped, and the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK 2.40%) rose 0.7%.

As for individual stocks, tensions surrounding a key contract renewal left Walt Disney (DIS 2.28%) trading lower for much of the day, and a word of caution from Wall Street sent AMD (AMD 6.58%) and NVIDIA (NVDA 5.16%) down.

Rising stock charts superimposed over digital map of the world

Image source: Getty Images.

Disney plays hardball

Disney shares initially declined 2.6% after Verizon Communications (VZ -0.49%) sent an email to its 4.5 million Fios TV customers warning they may lose access to several of Disney's most popular channels. However, like many stocks, the entertainment giant finished the session in the green thanks to the late-day rally, ultimately closing up 0.7%.

Verizon says it's negotiating a renewed carriage agreement to keep Disney's namesake network, Freeform, ESPN, and certain ABC affiliates after their current agreement expires on Dec. 31. As of Wednesday afternoon, however, Verizon says Disney had rejected each of its offers, instead "proposing that Verizon pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for its programming, despite the fact that many of its key networks are experiencing declining viewership."

Disney, for its part, wrote in a statement that its "proven history of providing extraordinary value to consumers and distributors is unmatched," adding that it remains "optimistic" it will come to terms with Verizon.

Of course, Disney is also benefiting from more direct viewership lately thanks to the its ESPN+ streaming service, as well as a planned launch of a new Disney-branded streaming service next year. However, just as Verizon hopes to avoid a service disruption with these key networks, it seems safe to say Disney would rather not lose the millions of eyeballs Verizon Fios TV provides.

A word of caution on graphics chip leaders

AMD stock fell 2.3% and NVIDIA declined 1.5% in the wake of RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves tempering his bullish view of both companies.

Steves reiterated his outperform rating on both stocks, but reduced his current-quarter revenue estimates to be near the lower end of their respective guidance ranges. He also reduced his estimate for AMD's 2019 revenue to be roughly $7.29 billion (down from $7.41 billion before), and for NVIDIA's 2019 sales to be $11.76 billion (down from $11.99 billion previously).

To justify the reductions, Steves noted graphics card prices on sites like Amazon, Newegg, and eBay are declining, which could indicate a slowdown in the lucrative gaming segments for both AMD and NVIDIA.

But the analyst also admitted the price declines could be partially related to a slowdown in purchases for crypto-currency mining -- a trend that investors in both NVIDIA and AMD were already aware of

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Stocks Mentioned

The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
$105.61 (2.28%) $2.35
Verizon Communications Inc. Stock Quote
Verizon Communications Inc.
$50.99 (-0.49%) $0.25
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Stock Quote
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
$98.75 (6.58%) $6.10
NVIDIA Corporation Stock Quote
NVIDIA Corporation
$178.51 (5.16%) $8.76
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$32,120.28 (0.00%) $0.00
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
$4,057.84 (1.99%) $79.11
SPDR Series Trust - SPDR S&P Retail ETF Stock Quote
SPDR Series Trust - SPDR S&P Retail ETF
$66.26 (4.78%) $3.02
The Select Sector SPDR Trust - The Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund Stock Quote
The Select Sector SPDR Trust - The Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund
$136.83 (2.40%) $3.21

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

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