Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
On Tuesday, stocks rose, as September's weak payroll numbers sent stocks higher -- that's right, higher. Wall Street thinks economic fragility will make it harder for the Federal Reserve to taper its stimulus program in upcoming meetings. Today, however, stocks pulled back, almost as if Wall Street realized an anemic labor force is nothing to reward. Despite losing 54 points, or 0.4%, to end at 15,413 Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) remains within 1.5% of all-time highs. Tomorrow's jobless-claims figures will paint a more accurate picture about just how deplorable the labor market is.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) stock, which is one of the Dow's top five performers in 2013, having already gained around 37%, reversed its winning ways, shedding 1.3% Wednesday. It's easy to glance around today's market and spot the frothy, momentum-based highfliers, and Disney is doing its best to fit that bill as nearly as a blue chip can. Disney's rise, however, is supported by an iconic brand, an enviable portfolio of entertainment cash cows, consistent earnings power, and decent fundamentals. Disney remains a long-term powerhouse that could still offer promising returns despite its run this year.
In stark contrast to Disney's robust, diversified, and profitable business, J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP), finds itself in the midst of an existential crisis. The casual investor, then, is probably hopelessly befuddled by J.C. Penney's 7.5% rally today, as talk of strategic bankruptcy swirls around the retailer. It helps to look at the situation in context: Shares have plummeted 64% in 2013 alone, so today's "rally" is more of a one-day, unpredictable gain based on high volatility and speculative short-term trading. I'd stay far away from this stock until its future is more firmly guaranteed.
Another market mover Wednesday, Lumber Liquidators (NYSE:LL) jumped 4.8% after beating quarterly estimates for both earnings and revenue. The flooring retailer has now tallied an impressive six straight quarters in which both profit and sales exceeded analyst expectations. A surging real estate market has supported Lumber Liquidators' recent success, and expanding margins are helping to send shares higher Wednesday. The company's improving financial health is nothing to scoff at, but remember: "investors own the future, not the past." Luckily for Lumber Liquidators investors, the future looks bright: The company boosted its full-year revenue and earnings targets for 2013.