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.
Stocks rebounded from yesterday's pullback on Thursday, as strong U.S. manufacturing numbers gave investors renewed confidence in the stock market today. Markit's monthly manufacturing index jumped from 53.5 in January to 56.7 in February, the highest reading in nearly four years. Encouraged, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) added 92 points, or 0.6%, to end at 16,133.
Home Depot (NYSE:HD) stock, which took a beating on Wednesday after January housing starts came in lower than expected, bounced back Thursday, adding 1.4%. Investors were also worried by the Federal Reserve's chitchat about possibly raising interest rates, which would weaken loan demand and put a damper on Home Depot's short-term growth prospects. Thinking longer term, Home Depot is finally embracing e-commerce with open arms, having just opened a new fulfillment center for the sole purpose of online and mobile sales.
Shares of the $1.1 billion network control management company Infoblox (NYSE: BLOX) jumped 11.1% Thursday, all because a little outfit called Goldman Sachs thinks the stock is undervalued. Shares were upgraded to buy from neutral today, just more than a week after Infoblox took a nasty 45% plunge due to a dramatically reduced quarterly sales forecast. Goldman could be onto something here, as the market frequently overreacts to unexpected news; but when a small cap like Infoblox starts to see ebbing revenue growth, it's a red flag. Never buy or sell based on the whims of an analyst alone -- accuracy isn't a huge priority for them.
Finally, the troubles continued for beleaguered department store chain J.C. Penney (OTC:JCPN.Q) on Thursday, as shares lost 5.8%. There simply isn't much to look forward to in the near term for this turnaround project, and the long-term outlook is so fuzzy at this point, it's almost meaningless to discuss. Liquidity concerns, so-so holiday sales, store closings, and layoffs have plagued J.C. Penney's stock -- and those are just the issues the company has faced in 2014. There will be a lot of pressure on J.C. Penney next Wednesday when it reports quarterly results.