Stock Market Today: Stocks Swing Higher on Strong Economic Data

An upbeat report on new home sales helped fuel an impressive rebound for stocks today.

Stock indexes
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The sting of President Joe Biden's proposal to roughly double the capital gains tax for wealthy Americans eased today, with markets finishing a choppy week on a high note.

"I'm shocked the market was surprised that higher capital gains taxes are coming," says LPL Financial chief market strategist Ryan Detrick. "We knew this was going to happen the second President Biden won in November. Calmer heads prevailed today with the broad rally at least."

And a broad rally it was indeed, thanks in part to a few upbeat economic reports. Namely, data showed new home sales in the U.S. rose by more than 20% month-over-month in March, while the service sector expanded at its quickest pace since 2009 last month and factory activity signaled improvement in April.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/xrd7fjmf8g1657008683.png

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of Kiplinger’s expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of Kiplinger’s expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

Tech stocks led the charge higher, with Apple (AAPL (opens in new tab), +1.8%) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD (opens in new tab), +4.7%) two of the day's notable gainers. At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.7% at 34,043, the S&P 500 was 1.1% higher at 4,180, and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.4% to 14,016.

Sign up for Kiplinger's FREE Investing Weekly e-letter for stock, ETF and mutual fund recommendations, and other investing advice.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 jumped 1.8% to finish at 2,271.
  • U.S. crude oil futures added 1.2% to settle at $62.14 per barrel.
  • Gold futures declined 0.2% to $1,777.80 per ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) plunged 7.4% to settle at 17.33.
  • Bitcoin prices sank by 3.7% to $50,983. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

stock indexes 042321

(Image credit: YCharts)

Where are the Low-Cost ETFs?

Let's face it: expenses matter when it comes to investing. This point was made abundantly clear in late 2019, when most online brokerages in the U.S. went commission-free with stocks, exchange-traded funds and options in order to draw more investors to the table. And in recent years, several index fund providers have begun reducing their fees.

While Vanguard was one of the pioneers in the low-cost investing space, many other providers have since followed suit. We've taken a fresh look at some of the cheapest index funds on the market right now – including one ETF whose expense ratio is zero.

Karee Venema
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger.com

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is an investing editor and options expert at Kiplinger.com. She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.