These Stocks Kept Markets Afloat on a Dull Day For the Dow

A slow day for the markets has snapped a week-plus run for the Dow Jones Industrial Average , which lost ground for the first time since June 12. A six-day streak of gains is nothing to sneeze at, but even this advance has typified the market of 2014 -- from June 13 to 20, the Dow gained a total of 1.3%, with only one day producing a gain in excess of half a percent. Slow, steady, and unmemorable have been the bywords in American markets this year, and even today's streak-snapping decline of 0.06% was barely worth a second glance.

Even Joseph Ducreux is bored with today's results. Source: Wikimedia Commons. 

Of course, eagle-eyed investors can always spot a few patches of volatility within ponderous index moves. JPMorgan Chase  went up 1.1% to top the Dow and stand among the financial sector's best stocks of the day, The megabank is leading the underwriting for three of this week's notable IPOs, which will keep it in the spotlight until its second-quarter earnings report drops on July 15.

More volatile still were S&P 500 components PetSmart and Integrys Energy , which paced all gainers on the broad-based inex today with respective pops of 5.2% and 12.1%. The S&P's biggest megacap pop was also from a megabank -- Citibank outdid JPMorgan with a 1.5% gain after it agreed to sell its Spanish retail and credit card business to Spain's own Banco Popular. Terms of the deal were unknown, but it does help Citi extricate itself from one of the eurozone's weakest economies.

PetSmart appears to be simply recovering from Wedbush's coverage initiation with a hold rating and a $60 price target on Friday -- a target that PetSmart has effectively reached a mere trading day after it was instituted. PetSmart's growth has moderated recently, but it is still a high performer, with EPS up 160% since late 2009 despite revenue growing only 32% in the same time frame. PetSmart's P/E ratio is 13.8, down from its 18.8 average over the past five years.

Integrys popped today on news that it would be acquired by Wisconsin Energy for $5.7 billion in cash and stock. Surprisingly, Integrys' current share price of $68.35 is below the agreed-upon $71.47-per-share acquisition price, which indicates a bit of skepticism that the deal will conclude. Savvy investors could still capitalize on the 4.6% discrepancy between Integrys' closing price and its acquisition price, and the deal includes roughly 0.41 shares of Wisconsin Energy for each Integrys share, ensuring that committed income investors can continue to receive solid dividends if they so choose.

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The article These Stocks Kept Markets Afloat on a Dull Day For the Dow originally appeared on

Alex Planes has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends PetSmart and Wisconsin Energy. The Motley Fool owns shares of Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase. 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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