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.
With the Federal Reserve's next policy meeting still almost a week away, investors seem to be calming down about what the central bank may do with interest rates. After three days of declines, the major indexes are heading higher today, but not by much. As of 1 p.m. EST the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is up 28 points, or 0.18%, the S&P 500 is up 0.11% and the Nasdaq has risen 0.20%. Both within and outside the Dow we can find a few winners outpacing the blue-chip index today; let's see who they are and why they are moving higher.
Home improvement retailer and Dow component Home Depot (NYSE:HD) jumped 1.2% after the stock was upgraded by Raymond James. The move comes after a recent investor and analyst day and is based on the idea that Home Depot will continue to improve for years to come by driving operating margins and cash flow. Raymond James has an $85.50 price target on the stock, which is not much higher than the existing share price of $79.52. As usual, this is one analyst and one opinion. Furthermore, the fact that the price target is rather low indicates that while the analyst believes the stock has potential to move higher, that potential is limited. Investors should take this rating change with a big grain of salt.
Two other big winners outside the Dow today are Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) and GameStop (NYSE:GME), which are higher by 6.87% and 4.28%, respectively. Bank of America Merrill Lynch reiterated its rating on shares of GameStop today. The firm has a buy rating on the stock and a $59 price target, which represents nearly a 30% increase from where the stock is trading today. The analyst felt that while GameStop had a poor quarter, that will not last as the new game console upgrade cycle is just getting under way. Furthermore, the new consoles are expected to keep game sales elevated despite what many are calling a weak initial release for games.
That belief could be also what's helping push shares of Electronic Arts higher today, or the fact that the stock hit a level not seen since May 7 yesterday when it closed below $21 per share. As both Microsoft and Sony have brand new gaming consoles out this holiday season, video game sales will likely be high regardless of how bad the critics believe the games are. That forced demand will help EA get over its poor title problem and should help the stock move higher in the short term or, at the very least, hold its current price.
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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Home Depot and Bank of America. Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what causing the big market movers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513.
The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America and Home Depot. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America and GameStop. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.