Stock Market Today: Dow Bounces Back as Earnings Beats Roll On

Everything from the blue-chip Dow to the small-cap Russell 2000 both benefited from a broad recovery day as Q1 earnings continued to impress.

Technical analyst pointing at stock chart going up
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wednesday maintained the same light-news, heavy-earnings pace of the past couple of days, but with a much better result that saw the major indexes close in the black.

Netflix (NFLX) was the primary focus of today's earnings slate. Its stock tanked by 7.4% after it reported disappointing subscriber growth in Q1 and predicted much of the same for Q2.

However, Michael Reinking, NYSE senior market strategist (and, get this, celebrant of National Big Word Day today), points out that "earnings remain the cynosure of investors, and, while there has been a disproportionable amount of coverage of the Netflix subs disappointment, earnings have been quite strong over the past few days."

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Indeed, Verizon (VZ (opens in new tab), -0.4%), Halliburton (HAL (opens in new tab), -3.6%) and Edwards Lifesciences (EW (opens in new tab), +6.3%) were among a few dozen companies to announce Street-beating earnings over the past 24 hours alone.

Investor reactions to each of those reports varied widely, but the direction of the broader markets was unanimously up: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9% to 34,137, the S&P 500 finished 0.9% higher to 4,173, the Nasdaq Composite closed up 1.2% to 13,950 and the small-cap Russell 2000 jumped 2.4% to 2,239.

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"After the defensive posturing we’ve seen in the market over the last week, some of that is reversing today," Reinking adds.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • Cruise line stocks were sharply higher on Wednesday, including gains from Carnival (CCL (opens in new tab), +X%) and Royal Caribbean (RCL (opens in new tab), +X%). But leading the way was Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH (opens in new tab), +X%) after Goldman Sachs analyst Stephen Grambling upgraded it to Buy. "The bottom-line is NCLH is poised to see fundamentals inflect once sailings resume," he writes, "with pent-up leisure demand driving a recovery in net yields beyond pre-pandemic levels at the same time that net cruise costs ex-fuel will be slower to bounce back."
  • U.S. crude oil futures slumped 2.1% to $61.35 per barrel.
  • Gold futures improved by 0.8% to $1,793.10 per ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) retreated by 8.1% to 17.16.
  • Bitcoin prices declined 1.8% to $55.615. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

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(Image credit: YCharts)

ESG Investments for Earth Day

Tomorrow marks the nation's 51st celebration of Earth Day, and never before has the concept behind it been so important to investors.

Environmental stewardship has become a crucial value to a swelling number of investors – it goes beyond buying shares of companies directly in the business of doing better by the environment, but ensuring that firms of all types are contributing where they can.

That's just part of a wider trend favoring investments based on ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) factors. And it's more than merely a feel-good strategy; many good ESG practices go hand in hand with stronger operations.

If you want to harness these factors but don't feel like doing heavy research across hundreds of stocks, funds that select their holdings based on these criteria are abundant – we've recently explored a number of ESG ETFs that fit the bill, and this wider list of values-based funds includes picks for ETF and mutual fund investors alike.

That said, some people are most comfortable with individual companies they've come to learn and understand, like the ubiquitous blue chips of the Dow 30 – and you'll be glad to know that several of them are solid ESG citizens. According to index and analytics specialist MSCI, 10 Dow stocks are considered leaders in environmental, social and governance practices, and most of them also pass muster with Wall Street's top analysts. Check them out.

Kyle Woodley was long NCLH as of this writing.

Kyle Woodley
Senior Investing Editor, Kiplinger.com

Kyle is senior investing editor for Kiplinger.com. As a writer and columnist, he also specializes in exchange-traded funds. He joined Kiplinger in September 2017 after spending six years at InvestorPlace.com, where he managed the editorial staff. His work has appeared in several outlets, including U.S. News & World Report and MSN Money, he has appeared as a guest on Fox Business Network and Money Radio, and he has been quoted in MarketWatch, Vice and Univision, among other outlets. He is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned a BA in journalism.