Stocks Cross Key Milestones

Stocks crossed some psychologically key milestones on Tuesday.

Stronger corporate earnings reports and expectations that central banks will act to support the economy powered the Standard & Poor's 500 past 1400 and the Nasdaq Composite above 3000 for the first time in three months. The Dow, closing up 51 points at 13168, is now just 996 points shy of its all-time high hit in October of 2007.

But rewind to one year ago today: Monday, August 8, 2011, was the first time the market got to respond to the historic downgrade by Standard & Poor's of the United States the Friday night before.

The broader market fell a whopping 7%. The S&P 500 closed at 1,120, the Dow Industrials stood at 10,810 and oil tumbled to $81 a barrel.

Meanwhile, eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) is testing same-day delivery with big retailers including Target (NYSE:TGT), Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Walgreen (NYSE:WAG), Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN), and Macy's (NYSE:M) as the world's largest online marketplace steps up the competition with  EBay introduced "eBay Now," a mobile app, earlier this week to select members in San Francisco. Deliveries can come in as little as one hour -- eventually the service will cost $5 on minimum orders of $25.

You may not have heard of Church & Dwight (NYSE:CHD), but you've certainly heard of its products: Nair, Arm & Hammer, and Trojan. The CEO is thanking "Fifty Shades of Grey" for boosting sales of its sexual devices. On the conference call after Church & Dwight's earnings announcement yesterday, CEO Jim Craigie said he's pleased with distribution and sales of the Trojan brand's Vibrations line "which we believe has been aided by the popularity of the 'Fifty Shades of Gray' novel."

Not since the Harry Potter series has a book had so much impact on public-company results. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) have benefited from higher digital sales, too, since many folks choose to read the erotic books with the privacy of their e-readers.