Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said today that the economy will need extraordinary support for quite some time. Her comment at a conference in Chicago led investors to believe that interest rates will remain low, thus making it a more favorable environment for companies to grow and expand, which ultimately will push stock prices higher. The positive sentiment is already having an effect -- as of 1 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 141 points, or 0.86%, the S&P 500 went higher by 0.88%, and the Nasdaq rose 1.28%.
The big winner within the Dow was Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), as shares were up 2.6% after the company's Office applications for the iPad were top Apple App Store downloads over the weekend. Users can download for the products free, but they will have to pay if they want to create or edit Office documents via the iPad. While it remains to be seen how successful this will be for Microsoft, this is a good start.
Meanwhile, Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) shares were up 1.2%. The move follows an announcement that Disney's Frozen had become the top-grossing animated film ever after topping $1 billion in global ticket sales. While already delivering great returns, the movie could also be the next merchandise money pot, franchise film, and resort attraction for Disney. That ability to leverage blockbuster movies into more than a one-time paycheck means Disney can make much more than $1 billion on Frozen.
Speaking of the film industry, shares of Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF-A) rose 5.4% today after an analyst with JPMorgan Chase said the recent pullback in Lions Gate shares was unwarranted and overdone. Since March 12, the stock is down more than 24%; for the past month it was off by more than 15% before today's move higher. JPMorgan reiterated it overweight stock rating and stated that the current share price presents a great entry point. The company has a number of potential blockbusters in the works, and it has built out a great name and a number of franchises that will continue to expand. I would have to agree with the analyst and say the stock has a bright future.
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