Good News Sends Markets Higher

The market is in some serious need of good news. Over the last two trading sessions, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) lost a total of 434 points, or 3.3%, amounting to the worst two-day drop this year. Fortunately, it's showing some positive signs of life today, up 35 points, or 0.27%.

The catalyst for today's gain is evidence that consumer confidence is recovering faster than expected. The Thompson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment for the month of November increased to 84.9 from 82.6 in October. Economists had expected the number to come in between 74.7 and 86, with a consensus estimate of 82.9.

In corporate news, shares in Groupon (NAS: GRPN) and J.C. Penney (NYS: JCP) are tanking after both companies reported worse-than-expected quarterly results. The daily deal's site saw its shares drop by nearly 30% today after its sales growth disappointed investors. Since going public, Groupon has now seen its share price drop by nearly 90%. And J.C. Penney said that in the three months ended Oct. 31, its same-store sales dropped by 26% compared to the same time period in 2011. It recorded a loss for the quarter of $123 million, or $0.56 a share, well below the consensus estimate.

With respect to Dow stocks, shares of JPMorgan Chase (NYS: JPM) and Bank of America (NYS: BAC) , the nation's largest banks by assets, are trading higher after it was reported that bank regulators will be putting off implementation of higher capital requirements. The Federal Reserve had originally expected to make this upcoming January the effective date; however, it's now delaying it due to a wide range of concerns expressed by the industry.

And finally, traders are pushing shares of Disney (NYS: DIS) down sharply after the entertainment company reported third-quarter results that missed on the top line but met on the bottom. Recently, the company made news by announcing that it had purchased the Star Wars franchise via its acquisition of Lucasfilm, the movie company owned by Star Wars creator George Lucas. Disney's shares are currently trading lower by nearly 6% in intraday trading.

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