Princess Leia, Golden Arches Help the Dow Set its 4th Record


The string of record-high closes for the Dow Jones Industrials reached four today, as the Dow climbed 68 points on the heels of a strong employment report. Some economists downplayed the report, arguing that it doesn't yet fully incorporate the impact of higher tax rates for 2013 as well as other looming threats, like government spending cuts under the sequester. Yet, investors weren't inclined to worry too much about those future fears, instead taking the S&P 500 to within 1% of its record-high close back in 2007.

Within the Dow, Disney was the top gainer. The stock rocketed higher by almost 2% after the company announced that the next installment of the Star Wars saga would feature original Princess Leia actress Carrie Fisher, along with Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill, who played Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, respectively. With billions of moviegoers waiting impatiently for the seventh film in the series, Disney has some serious star power to send the movie into hyperdrive.

McDonald's climbed 1.7% after announcing its sales results for the month of February. Even though same-store sales disturbingly fell again, one thing to note is that last February had 29 days due to the 2012 leap year. Once you take out that impact, same-store sales worldwide were actually up 1.7%. Still, the domestic introduction of Fish McBites, and other attempts to boost revenue, didn't produce the results that the company had hoped for. The company needs to reawaken growth in order to sustain its share-price gains.

Trucking giant Navistar jumped another 11%, adding to its 28% gain yesterday. As often happens, an analyst upgrade provided a second leg up for the stock after the company's strong earnings results prompted yesterday's rise. With activist investor Carl Icahn involved in the stock and endorsing the company's new CEO, Navistar appears to have made big strides in turning itself around.

Finally, Hecla Mining rebounded 4% after a big drop earlier in the week after the company made a bid for Aurizon Mines. Investors were initially worried that Hecla may have overpaid for the company in its attempt to outbid Alamos Gold, but an analyst upgrade suggested that the acquisition may actually add value for Hecla going forward.

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Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends McDonald's and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of McDonald's and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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