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Stock Market Today: Disney and Yelp Jump as Indexes Fall

Stocks took their cue from commodity prices on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) indexes both fell slightly as declining oil prices hurt the energy sector.

Today's stock market:

Index

Percentage change

Point change

Dow

(0.2%)

(37)

S&P 500

(0.3%)

(6)

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Meanwhile, earnings season drove heavy trading in a few individual stocks, with Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) and Yelp (NYSE: YELP) finishing among the biggest movers on Wednesday.

Disney's record box-office streak

Disney was one of the best-performing stocks on the Dow after the entertainment giant flexed its financial muscles in fiscal third-quarter results published before the opening bell. Sales rose 9%, earnings improved by double digits, and operating cash flow was up nearly 30%.

Image source: Disney.com.

The standout performer was the studio business, which logged a 40% sales jump and 62% higher profits as Disney continued its epic streak of wins at theaters. Captain America: Civil War, The Jungle Book, and Finding Dory joined last quarter's Zootopia and the earlier Star Wars: The Force Awakens to push Disney's collection of studios (Marvel Studios, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Lucasfilm, and Walt Disney Pictures) closer to a rare No. 1 finish in annual box-office receipts.

The movie wins helped offset weakness in Disney's core media business, which managed zero profit growth as advertising revenue declined in the broadcasting segment. "Our results are evidence that our asset mix is strong, as is our ability to execute in ways that enhance the Disney brand and create value for our shareholders," said CEO Bob Iger in a press release.

Executives didn't provide hard numbers on the recent opening of Disney's biggest park yet, in Shanghai, China. Iger did tell investors that the launch went off without a hitch, though, and that "consumers there really love the product, which is evidenced by the fact that they are staying much longer per visit than we ever expected." While it will take some time before the resort begins contributing to profits, Disney has high hopes for its long-term potential, given that 300 million people live within a four-hour drive of the park.

Yelp wins online advertising market share

Yelp's stock surged higher by 13% after it beat consensus estimates and raised its full-year guidance (for the second straight quarter). The local business marketplace grew revenue by 30% on strength in advertising sales. Yelp managed a slight profit as well, compared to a $1.3 million loss in the prior-year period. The company isn't yet close to producing consistent earnings, though: Its operating loss was $15 million through the first six months of the year.

Image source: Getty Images.

Yet management is encouraged by the spike in user engagement -- user reviews were up 30% to 108 million -- and Yelp's success at capitalizing on it. "We had a great second quarter with local revenue growth accelerating to 41% year over year," CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said.

Yelp's sales growth outlook inched up to 28% from the 27% it projected back in May. Adjusted earnings targets also got an upgrade, rising to $104 million from $99 million.

Rising spending on product development and marketing will likely keep the company in the red this year. Still, improving customer-engagement metrics add weight to Yelp's bet that it can reach its long-term goal of 36% adjusted profit margin -- or triple the result from 2015.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Yelp. 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.