Home Depot could also continue to move higher, despite a nearly 50 percent run up this year, according to Peter Keith, a senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray. In what Keith described as a "double positive" for the home improvement retailer, discretionary spending on homes seems to be picking up, while the housing recovery becomes a tailwind.
J.C. Penney's turnaround efforts, meanwhile, may take years. Dana Telsey, CEO of the Telsey Advisory Group, warned that efforts by CEO Ron Johnson were unlikely to bear fruit for at least another two years.
The battle between Apple and Samsung Electronics has largely been about the hardware. But software may be what matters more to consumers, Toni Sacconaghi, senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said.
"When people are buying an iPhone versus a Samsung Galaxy S III, they're implicitly deciding, 'I want to be on the iOS platform, or I want to be on the Android platform," said the analyst, who rates Apple as an "outperform," with an $800 price target.
Renewed tensions in the Middle East took a toll on some Israeli stocks like Teva Pharmaceutical listed in the U.S. The stock is down sharply since the Israeli Air Force started its campaign by targeting and killing the head of Hamas' military force Ahmed Jaabari on Wednesday in response to waves of rocket attacks against Israeli civilians in the days before.
But Zach Herzog, head of international sales at Psagot Securities Brokerage, Israel's largest brokerage firm, said Israeli equities could have fared worse than they have.
—By CNBC.com's Justin Menza
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