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Well, that wasn't so painful now, was it? Wall Street, like a frightened child about to get its thumb pricked at the doctor's office, spent the first two weeks of December making a scene and worrying about this week's Federal Reserve meeting. But when all was said and done, and Nurse Bernanke had gently administered the needle, Baby Wall Street opened its eyes and beamed with joy -- it wasn't so bad after all!
In fact, investors applauded the move to taper monthly Fed asset purchases from $85 billion to $75 billion, as the stock market ended at record highs today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) for instance, rocketed 292 points higher, or 1.8%, to end at 16,167.
Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) stock certainly helped the Dow rise on its historic day today, adding 2.2%. It's not surprising investors were piling into Disney: The entertainment giant is feeling vindicated after Hulu, the online video streaming service partly owned by Disney, said sales jumped more than 40% and will top $1 billion in 2013. The three companies behind Hulu -- Disney, Comcast, and Twenty-First Century Fox -- flirted with the idea of selling the site earlier this year. Disney is also behind two of the top five films out as of late Tuesday: Frozen, and Thor: The Dark World. But Disney doesn't stop there. I'm told it also owns some theme parks and the rights to a movie franchise called Star Wars. Maybe you've heard of it?
Like the rest of the market, Lumber Liquidators (NYSE:LL) shareholders were glued to the TV, watching Bernanke give his last public address as Fed chairman. If anyone was wondering how Wall Street thought the tapering measures would affect Lumber Liquidators' business, there's no need to poll Wall Street insiders. The stock roared almost 5% higher in the last two hours of trading, ending with 6.1% gains on the day. Lumber Liquidators, a hardwood-flooring retailer, is a textbook example of a company that should benefit in a low-rate, real estate-friendly environment like today's. The Fed's vow to keep the target rate low this afternoon underscores the reason investors were happy to get behind a company like this today.
Last but not least, CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) stock gained 4.3% Wednesday after dropping some financial bombshells on the public at the drugstore's New York City Analyst Day. These were lucrative bombshells, of course. The kind you would want dropped indiscriminately all over your portfolio until the end of time. CVS Caremark issued earnings guidance in line with estimates for fiscal 2014, while also boosting its quarterly dividend by 22% and approving a $6 billion share repurchase agreement. Investors don't need Ivy League analysts to tell them that today's announcement was a boon for the stock's prospects. Concerns over Obamacare's weak rollout -- caused largely by the botched healthcare.gov website -- have hung over the entire health care sector recently, so it was nice to hear CVS won't see a huge impact from the snafu.
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