Perhaps the most powerful individual in the world of finance, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen decried the sorry state of the U.S. economy today. Wall Street responded exuberantly, and all 10 sectors finished with gains. Noting that "there remains considerable slack in the economy and labor market," Yellen's speech implied that keeping interest rates low was still a top priority for the central bank. Encouraged by the prospect of low rates for the foreseeable future, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) jumped 134 points, or 0.8%, to end at 16,457.
Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) helped aid the Dow's surge, adding 1.4% Monday on news that its hit holiday family film Frozen now reigns as the top-grossing animated film of all time. Topping $1 billion in global box office sales, the future revenue streams from Frozen's runaway success read like a Disney investor's dream. The movie will likely spawn a sequel or two, should bring in money from merchandise and licensing, and may even inspire a theme park ride. On top of that, Frozen played fantastically with audiences overseas, hauling in more than 60% of its sales abroad.
Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF-A), the production company behind The Hunger Games franchise, soared 6.1% as a new movie franchise kicked off successfully. Divergent, which is also adapted from a popular series of novels about a dystopian future, is officially in the black after just its second week in theaters. Lions Gate, which at a $3.7 billion valuation pales in comparison to Disney's $140 billion global entertainment empire, relies on tent-pole movies like Divergent to stay afloat. It doesn't look like the company will be sinking anytime soon.
One media stock not feeling the market's love today was Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), which lost 1.9% today. Netflix has been a remarkably innovative and successful company over the years, attracting plenty of attention and competition as it's grown. With talk of Amazon.com potentially offering a free video streaming service and rumors that Apple is working to bring high-quality streaming TV to its set-top box, Netflix investors are officially spooked. But until paying subscribers start switching to other services, talk is cheap and Netflix remains the king of streaming video.