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.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) managed to lose ground for a second straight day Wednesday, despite another generally bullish day on Wall Street. The price-weighted blue chip index was largely dragged down by IBM (NYSE: IBM) stock, which exerts more influence over the average than 28 of its 29 peers. Although Big Blue beat earnings estimates for the fourth quarter, falling revenue failed to impress investors. IBM's disappointment was the main factor behind today's 41-point, or 0.3%, Dow slump. The index closed at 16,373, and has posted a 1.1% loss thus far in 2014.
Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) stock did its best to offset IBM's fall, tacking on 1.6% today. The gains came on the heels of bullish commentary from a Bernstein analyst touting the success of A&E, which Disney owns jointly with the Hearst Corporation. Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) was formerly the third partner with an ownership stake in the network, but decided to sell its roughly 16% stake to Walt Disney and Hearst in July 2012. A&E boasts one of the biggest and most controversial shows currently on TV, Duck Dynasty.
J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) surged 4% today, though swings of that magnitude are actually becoming quite routine for shareholders (although usually they're swings lower). Just three weeks into 2014, J.C. Penney shares have lost more than 25% of their value, as investors read between the lines to divine how the company's doing financially. With the retailer staying suspiciously mum about holiday sales, closing stores, and laying off employees, the message hasn't seemed overwhelmingly positive, to put it gently. In context, today's gains are but a brief reprieve from what's sure to be a bumpy ride moving forward.
Speaking of bumpy rides, Melco Crown Entertainment Limited (NASDAQ: MPEL) investors could be headed for some tough times. Stock in the gaming company dropped 2.6% Wednesday in reaction to a JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) report questioning whether the prospects of Macau were over-represented in the valuations of the world's biggest casinos. If China's Macau -- which hauled in more than seven times the revenue Vegas saw last year -- is indeed too heavily represented in current valuations, Melco Crown Entertainment shares are primed for a steep drop. Play your hand carefully with this one, folks!