Home Depot (HD):The largest U.S. home improvement retailer popping today, easily the Dow's biggest gainer after reporting a strong second-quarter earnings beat and raising its full year forecast. Revenue also topped estimates, gaining 5.7 percent to $23.8 billion, aided by improved weather and rising home prices that has customers spending more on renovations. Separately, housing starts for July surged to their highest levels in eight months.
Rackspace (RAX): The cloud computing services provider climbing after activist hedge fund Blue Harbour Group revealed a 6.4% stake in the company last night. Blue Harbour said it looks forward to discussing alternatives with management to deliver shareholder value, as the company revealed it was exploring strategic options back in May. Earlier this week, activist Dan Loeb's Third Point disclosed a stake in Rackspace as well. Prior to today, Rackspace stock had fallen 41% over the past two years and 19% this year.
And finally, call it the Justin Bieber effect. Shares of Elizabeth Arden (RDEN) are tumbling over 20% today after the company reported a wider than expected quarterly loss. Revenue for the quarter slid 28% to $191.7 million, as sales of celebrity fragrance brands, such as those from Taylor Swift, and - who could predict? - Justin Bieber, slumped badly. Elizabeth Arden's recent struggles to stem sales declines are in large part a result of a slowdown in demand for its celebrity fragrances at mass retailers like Walmart and Target.
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