Dropping nearly 100 points in the final hour-and-a-half of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI), which had been flirting with all-time highs, ended lower today, losing 20 points, or 0.15%, to close at 14,054. After four 100-point swings in the last four trading days, today's losses were tempered, as revised GDP figures showed growth in the fourth quarter; earlier figures had shown GDP declining.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) continues to be the Dow's hottest stock of the year (last year it was the biggest blue chip loser), and has risen a remarkable 41% in the first two months of 2013. After last week's impressive quarterly report showed progress in HP's turnaround, and this week's talk of an affordable, Android-run tablet, bulls are piling back into the stock with renewed confidence. Shares were up 1.8% Thursday to lead the Dow.
At the other end of the blue-chip spectrum today were Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) shares, which lost 1.1%. The massive retailer lost ground on news that its Chief Administrative Officer will be leaving the company in mid-March. One of the responsibilities of that job is labor relations, and those certainly could be going more smoothly. Some workers have been on strike at the company, and a number of employees walked out on Black Friday in November.
Shares of the global nutrition company Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) rose 7.6% today on news that activist investor Carl Icahn will be granted the ability to nominate two board members, as well as the right to own up to 25% of Herbalife common stock. Icahn expressed his confidence in the business today; he already holds more than a 13% stake in the company.
Lastly, Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) again made the news today, just a day after a horrendous earnings report that sent the stock tumbling. Today, co-founder and CEO Andrew Mason was replaced with two interim CEOs: Eric Lefkofsky and Ted Leonsis. Mason had been CEO for more than four years -- years that saw the stock plummet to about a quarter of its original listing price. Shares in the daily deals site rose after hours on the news of Mason's departure.
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