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S&P 500 and Disney Hit New Record Highs

By Matt Thalman – Feb 24, 2014 at 1:00PM

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Positive economic data comes all the way from Europe to push the U.S. markets higher to start the week.

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.

Germany released data today indicating that its economy was strengthening. This news has investors both in Europe and in the U.S. feeling good about the world economy and the prospect of future growth just down the road. That strong sentiment has Wall Street feeling optimistic, and as of 1 p.m. EST the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.10%) was up 185 points, or 1.15%, the S&P 500 rose 1.1% to hit a new all-time high, and the Nasdaq was higher by 1%.

Shares of Walt Disney (DIS 0.85%) also hit a record high of $81.59 before pulling back slightly. Disney's interconnected businesses and the company's ability to profit on one idea in a number of different mediums makes the entertainment giant extremely strong and reliable. Furthermore, the company has proven it can successfully purchase and grow film studios such as Pixar and Marvel. The Lucasfilm-Disney pairing should bring some very interesting material and will likely be a winning combination in the long run. And while we wait for the next Star Wars chapter to be released, we can always watch The Clone Wars on Netflix, another recent deal Disney made to help grow its franchise's reach.

On the flip side, shares of Microsoft (MSFT 0.13%) are heading south by 0.24% today. While Disney continues to build, expand, and cut new deals, Microsoft is shrinking and being cut out of new deals. Bloomberg reported this morning that Ford would stop using Microsoft's Windows software for its Sync in-car technology system. Instead, the car maker will reportedly use BlackBerry's QNX system, which insiders say is less expensive, has more flexibility, and is faster than what Windows offered. While this shouldn't be a major blow to Microsoft's revenue or earnings, it would be a big blow to the company's reputation and perceived public image, which in the long run could be worse.  

One Dow component flirting with breakeven is Home Depot (HD 0.28%), which is lower by just 0.1%. The company is set to report earnings tomorrow; with all the poor housing data released last week, investors certainly have a reason to be nervous about the report. But most data indicated that housing sales and building permits were strong during the last quarter of 2013, meaning Home Depot's sales and earnings should come strong. What is likely raising some concern is guidance for the current quarter and full-year 2014, because January and February housing numbers were weak. Downbeat homebuilders' confidence numbers also don't paint a good picture for the housing industry moving forward.

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Matt Thalman owns shares of Home Depot, Microsoft, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Home Depot and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Walt Disney. 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.

Stocks Mentioned

Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$34,429.88 (0.10%) $34.87
Microsoft Stock Quote
Microsoft
MSFT
$255.02 (0.13%) $0.33
Walt Disney Stock Quote
Walt Disney
DIS
$99.43 (0.85%) $0.84
Home Depot Stock Quote
Home Depot
HD
$327.99 (0.28%) $0.92

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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