It's not all that common to see the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) jump half a percent when fewer than half of the average's component stocks managed to finish ahead on the session. But thanks to massive IBM's favorable earnings report -- and its share price above $200 -- the Dow is susceptible to wild swings when the company is volatile, as it was today. The Dow's 67-point gain outperformed other major market measures, although the S&P 500 did manage to inch a bit higher as it approaches the 1,500 level.
But IBM wasn't the only winning stock today. Elsewhere in the Dow, Disney (NYSE:DIS) rose more than 2% to hit an all-time high. A positive research note from an analyst gave favorable comments about the company, anticipating successful renegotiations of cable contracts for its ESPN sports powerhouse, as well as strength in the theme park business and another round of blockbuster movies from Pixar and Marvel. Further out, the impact of the recent Lucasfilm acquisition should have even more positive effects.
Outside the Dow, lighting company Cree (NASDAQ:CREE) soared 22% after reporting a 69% jump in quarterly profits last night. As higher demand for more cost-effective and efficient LED lighting starts to make itself felt, Cree could well continue to see further gains despite the massive run-up today.
Finally, grocery chain Safeway (NYSE: SWY) gained more than 5% as investors weighed the idea going around that the company should sell its Canadian stores. No. 3 Canadian chain Metro was mentioned as a possible buyer, with a potential acquisition of Safeway Canada creating a massive superchain of more than 200 stores. With rival SUPERVALU (NYSE:SVU) having sold off portions of its store network to private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, the trend toward consolidation in the industry is consistent with the thin margins and pricing pressure that Safeway and its peers are facing.