What Happened in the Stock Market Today

By Demitrios Kalogeropoulos Markets Fool.com

Image source: Getty Images.

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Stocks nudged higher on Wednesday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average(DJINDICES: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) indexes each finished higher by more than 0.25%.

Today's stock market:

Index

Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow

0.30%

60.40

S&P 500

0.57%

12.92

Data source: Yahoo Finance.

Financial stocks were among the biggest gainers today, which helped make the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEMKT: XLF) a winner with a 1% increase. Gold prices held on to their recent gains, too, and that produced a 2% increase for the always volatileDirexion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X ETF (NYSEMKT: NUGT).

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As for individual stocks, Weight Watchers (NYSE: WTW) and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) stood out with large price jumps even on a solid day for broader indexes.

Weight Watchers' brand glow

Weight Watchers' stock gained 21% following two pieces of good news for the brand. First, the company won high marks in an annual diet-ranking program performed by U.S. News & World Report. The survey judged programs across categories like diabetes and heart disease prevention, and easiness to follow. Weight Watchers came in first within four categories, including "Best Diet for Fast Weight Loss."

Weight Watchers was tied for fourth-best overall, giving the company good news to put in front of potential customers. "We're honored to be ranked at the highest level for seven straight years by the experts at U.S. News & World Report," an executive said in a press release.

Weight Watchers shares also appeared to benefit from news that Oprah Winfrey, who recently took an ownership stake in the company, is lending her considerable star power to promote the brand. She gushed about the program on Tuesday, telling The Late Show's Stephen Colbert: "Everybody who has watched me over the years knows I've struggled with food. It's the first time that I've gotten it under control."

The company has received similar endorsements by Oprah in the past, and it also routinely ranks well in U.S. News & World Report's surveys. It hasn't yet turned those branding wins into strong membership and earnings growth, though. Revenue is down slightly over the past nine months as operating income held flat at $150 million.

Tesla deliveries

Tesla shares jumped 4% after the electric-car maker updated investors on its latest production and sales-output figures. The company manufactured 24,882 vehicles in the fourth quarter despite shifting to new autopilot hardware. Initial transition hiccups meant that deliveries didn't quite meet expectations, though. Tesla delivered 22,200 vehicles -- below the 25,000 goal -- in the quarter, 12,700 of which were Model S, with the remaining 9,500 being Model X.

Executives said that short-term production challenges were to blame for the delivery shortfall. "Although we tried to recover these deliveries and expedite others by the end of the quarter, time ran out before we could deliver all customer cars" that had been ordered, and in many cases, fully paid for. The 6,500 vehicles that were in transit when the clock ran out on the quarter will count toward first-quarter deliveries.

Image source: Tesla.

Investors took that slight miss in their stride, choosing instead to focus on Tesla's bullish reading of the market in a quarter that included a 52% spike in order volume. "Vehicle demand was particularly strong," the company said, as it wrapped up a fiscal year that saw production spike higher by 64%, to 84,000 vehicles.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos owns shares of Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.