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Why the Dow Wrote Off Russian Fears and Rose 88 Points Today

By John Divine - Mar 18, 2014 at 6:20PM

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Disney, J.C. Penney, and DryShips finish as big movers, newsmakers Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin formally annexed Crimea from Ukraine on Tuesday, continuing down a path that's drawing major ire from Western leaders. But Putin also strongly implied Russia wouldn't push the envelope further by attempting to seize other parts of Ukraine today. Relieved that Putin might not be as power-hungry as once feared, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI 1.40% ) tacked on 88 points, or 0.6%, to finish at 16,336.

Walt Disney ( DIS 0.29% ) shares added 0.8%, helping the Dow advance for a second straight day. Disney investors have gotten used to some big announcements in the last few years; the company has acquired Lucasfilm and the rights to the Star Wars franchise, partnered with Netflix and DISH Network on streaming deals, and seen the birth of a potential new franchise in Frozen, all in the past two years. Another major announcement came at the annual shareholders meeting today, as sequels to Cars and The Incredibles were both announced. Cha-ching!

J.C. Penney ( JCPN.Q ) shares didn't have such a great day, falling 3.5% Tuesday, despite a lack of major news. Increasing same-store sales over the holidays and a lower-than-expected quarterly loss have breathed new life into the stock recently, but the company remains on unsure footing. Shareholders still need to check its pulse every so often, and with J.C. Penney recently scrapping its monthly sales updates, long-term confidence in the business is still somewhat of a test of faith. Indeed, my colleague Natalie O'Reilly thinks modest sales improvements might not be enough to justify an investment.

Finally, shares of Greek bulk shipper DryShips ( DRYS ) jumped 5% today. Moody's upgraded the corporate debt of Ocean Rig -- DryShips' offshore drilling segment -- yesterday, showing improved confidence in the business's creditworthiness. This is great news for DryShips, which had $3.9 billion in long-term debt on its books at the beginning of the year. With improved credit, the company can refinance that debt at lower interest rates, freeing up more cash to plow back into the business.

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Stocks Mentioned

Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$35,719.43 (1.40%) $492.40
The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
DIS
$150.81 (0.29%) $0.44
J. C. Penney Company, Inc. Stock Quote
J. C. Penney Company, Inc.
JCPN.Q
DryShips Inc. Stock Quote
DryShips Inc.
DRYS

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

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