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.
Wall Street's positive momentum, which began Tuesday, carried over to the stock market today, as the Federal Reserve's "Beige Book" made for an upbeat economic read. Today's rally was also fueled by two of corporate America's biggest names, Apple and Bank of America, each of which thrilled investors by showing concrete signs of improvement. Apple's much-awaited penetration of the Chinese market via a deal with telecom superpower China Mobile is already paying dividends, and Bank of America's fourth-quarter results topped expectations on both the top and bottom lines. Unable to ignore the influx of bullish news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.41%) added 108 points, or 0.7%, to end at 16,481.
It was the Dow's second straight day of triple-digit gains.
One of just six Dow Debbie Downers on the day, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT 0.82%) fell 0.4% Wednesday despite the widespread bullishness in the market. Wal-Mart's PR nightmare over the company's alleged mistreatment of protesting employees continues. The National Labor Relations Board formally issued a complaint against the megaretailer today, claiming that the company illegally retaliated against a number of employees involved in "Black Friday" protests in 2012.
Although, like Wal-Mart, Country Style Cooking Restaurant Chain (CCSC) is in the services sector, the similarities between the two businesses end there. While the company's name leaves little to the imagination, Wednesday's stock performance left much to be desired. Shares tumbled 5.1% today, as shareholders lined up to take profits from the stock's recent two-day, 12% run that culminated two days ago. Considering Country Style's preliminary fourth-quarter results, released Monday, the brief rally was well deserved. The company thinks its sales will top the upper levels of its previous guidance, and anticipates same-store sales growth and improved earnings as well.
Noodles & Company (NDLS -5.66%) stock, meanwhile, is acting like the mirror image of is distant Chinese quick-service peer. Shares tacked on 8.4% Wednesday, as noodle-eating bulls piled back into the stock after a steep pullback on Monday. Monday's slump came on the heels of -- you guessed it -- preliminary guidance, in which Noodles & Company broke the news to Wall Street that its fourth-quarter sales probably wouldn't meet expectations. But investors clearly still see the potential in the young chain's future, and with revenue expected to jump about 17% from the prior year's quarter, it's hard not to.