All three major stock indices advanced on Wednesday, despite extremely sluggish first-quarter GDP numbers from the Commerce Department. The U.S. economy grew at just a 0.1% annualized pace in the first quarter, a full percentage point below what some experts were expecting. That didn't stop investors from sending stocks higher, however, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) added 45 points, or 0.3%, to end at 16,580.
Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), a day after announcing the cast for the newest Star Wars film (Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher will all be returning to screen) tacked on 0.9% as it announced an upgrade to its gaming offering, "Disney Infinity." Marvel superheroes, which have proven wildly popular in the box office, will also now be a part of the Disney Infinity project, in which action figures installed with chips connect with gaming devices, offering consumers an immersive entertainment experience. The soundtrack for Disney's Frozen also topped the billboard charts for another week, highlighting the company's current reign as the king of all things entertainment.
Meanwhile, after surging more than 10% in the last two days, shares of J.C. Penney (OTC:JCPN.Q) came back down to earth on Wednesday, losing 3.4%. The stock got off to a hot start to begin the week after apparel titan PVH Corp. sang J.C. Penney's praises on Monday, saying the department store was moving merchandise faster than expected. That was music to investors' ears, since PVH owns a number of top-selling brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and IZOD, among others. While both the stock and the company seem to be back on track after a nightmarish last few years, J.C. Penney still suffers lower gross margins than its main competitors, something it may have to suffer through until its customer base returns in full.
Sometimes called the Latin American eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), investors proved that they think of Mercadolibre in a very different light than eBay, as the stock soared 6.1%. eBay, on the other hand, lost more than 4% as earnings forecasts disappointed and the company took a huge cash charge for repatriating money it made abroad. This works out marvelously for Mercadolibre, which can breathe easier knowing the U.S. auction site has less money to work with in foreign markets.