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Wal-Mart Gets Help From Target While Disney Increases Pricing

By Matt Thalman – Feb 26, 2014 at 9:00PM

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A 9.6% increase in new home sales helps push the major indexes higher, but the S&P 500 still can't set new record.

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.

After a Commerce Department report this morning that new home sales rose 9.6% in January, the major indexes all finished the day in the black. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 2.18%) closed higher by 18 points, or 0.12%, while the S&P 500 rose less than 0.01% and the Nasdaq increased by 0.1%. The S&P 500 has for days now been on the verge of setting a record high, but after closing nearly flat today, some investors think a pullback is coming. Even if so, of course, it's nothing for long-term-focused investors to worry about.

Wal-Mart (WMT -0.36%) was a big winner on the Dow today, up 1.95%. There was little news specific to Wal-Mart, but its closest competitor, Target (TGT 0.42%), reported earnings today and revealed a drop in foot traffic following its massive data breach. If Wal-Mart can pick up some of that traffic, it could be a big win for investors.

As for Target, it finished the day up 7.04% despite posting a 5.3% revenue decline and a massive 46% earnings drop. It's possible that investors rallied behind the company knowing that the results weren't any worse than expected.  

One loser today on the Dow was Walt Disney (DIS 3.36%), down 0.16%. The stock has pulled back the past two days after hitting an all-time high of $81.59 on Monday, even after the company recently announced price increases at Walt Disney World in Florida. A one-day adult ticket rose from $95 to $99, and a four-day pass climbed from $279 to $294. This follows another increase just last June, and it should certainly help boost margins and profits. On the other hand, while the company continues to post increasing attendance levels every summer, at some point the price bumps will probably have a negative effect on attendance.  

Matt Thalman owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Walt Disney. We Fools don't 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.

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Stocks Mentioned

Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$34,589.77 (2.18%) $737.24
Walmart Stock Quote
Walmart
WMT
$152.42 (-0.36%) $0.55
Walt Disney Stock Quote
Walt Disney
DIS
$97.87 (3.36%) $3.18
Target Stock Quote
Target
TGT
$167.07 (0.42%) $0.70

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

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