The market shook off early worries, but by the end of the day the Dow Jones Industrial Average
The home-improvement retailer gained 1.54% today, helped by an IBM report forecasting increased sales of home furnishings. The report predicts that in-store sales will increase 8% in the second quarter, while online sales will grow by more than 28%. This is welcome news for Home Depot, as the stock was hurt earlier in the week by a Census report stating that construction spending fell 1.1% in February.
McDonald's investors don't fear competitor Burger King's move to go public, as the stock added 1.17% for the day. Yesterday, Goldman Sachs downgraded its rating on McDonald's to a buy, but it still has a price target of $110 per share, which is over its current price of $98.62. Of course, you may or may not believe in listening to Goldman Sachs' advice.
McDonald's will also still be able to package toys with its Happy Meals in California, after a judge dismissed the case yesterday. To help its image, McDonald's has cut the number of fries in its Happy Meals in half and added apple slices.
While the company currently fights with a new New Jersey law surrounding gift cards, American Express posted a 1.27% gain on the day. The payment processor is pulling gift cards from retail stores after a 2010 law, which has yet to go into effect, requiring the collection of a purchaser's ZIP code. The law is meant to help gift-card purchasers reclaim unused balances. The New Jersey Department of the Treasury states that of the $100 billion sold in these types of cards, $6 billion is unspent.
Tomorrow the markets will be closed, but look for the monthly unemployment report that will be released in the morning. However, any market reaction to the report, which is expected to remain unchanged at 8.3% unemployment, will have to wait until Monday.
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Fool contributor Dan Newman definitely asked for Happy Meals because of the toys -- and would probably have thrown out the apple. He holds no shares of the companies mentioned above. Follow him on Twitter, where he goes by @TMFHelloNewman.
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