Traders simply couldn't wait for the weekend, and abandoned all hope of a repeat of yesterday's huge gains early in the day. Unlike yesterday, the economic data certainly didn't work in the favor of the broad-based S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC), sending it modestly lower on the day.
We knew heading into today's preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment figure that it'd be downright difficult for optimism to surpass the nearly six-year high put up last month. The initial figure of 82.7, while still higher than many of the preceding months other than May, is nonetheless a decline, and a signal that optimism about the health of the economy may be waning.
May's industrial production also came in with a disappointing figure of flat growth compared to expectations for 0.1% growth. I'm sure investors are happy to see flat growth compared to the decline of 0.4% reported in April, but it nonetheless points to the fragility of the recovery in industrial production in the U.S.
All told, the S&P 500 gave back 9.63 points (-0.59%), to close at 1,626.73. However, today's economic data wasn't enough to keep the following three stocks from bucking today's downward pressure and heading higher.
For a second day in a row, we need to look no further than the broadcasting sector for our best performers. Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) advanced 8.1% and 3.5%, respectively, on speculation that a wave of mergers and acquisitions would sweep through the sector. If you recall, Gannett shares soared after announcing a $1.5 billion purchase of Belo yesterday to expand its national broadcasting presence.
What specifically led both stocks higher today was speculation that Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) is on the acquisition hunt. According to CNBC, Time Warner Cable's CEO Glenn Britt has discussed the possibility of merging with Charter; however, CNBC also commented that Time Warner Cable isn't likely to pursue the deal. That still proved more than enough to send Time Warner Cable and rival Cablevision higher, as any M&A acquisition in this sector would only serve to improve pricing power for these broadcasting companies.
The other big gainer, and a company that should be setting up a permanent address in the top-gainers list, is video game and gaming accessories retailer GameStop (NYSE:GME), which added another 3.9%. The impetus for today's move was an upgrade from Oppenheimer analyst Brian Nagel to "outperform." from "perform." Nagel cited increasing demand and excitement for new gaming consoles in the second-half of the year, especially following the E3 video game trade show. With Microsoft and Sony both clearing the way for authorized channel used games sales for their next-generation consoles, GameStop's future is again looking bright.
Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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