Stock Market Today: Stocks Sluggish, But Nasdaq Claws Out a Fresh High 

Mixed signals on the economic front mostly muted the broader indexes, but a strong day from Tesla helped get the Nasdaq over the hump yet again.

A white Tesla vehicle
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A so-so set of economic data didn't give investors much to get excited about Wednesday, but the Nasdaq Composite still managed to post another new high thanks to a strong day from Tesla (TSLA).

A day after existing-home sales came up weak, the Census Bureau reported a 5.9% month-over-month decline in new-home sales, to 769,000, which drooped well below the consensus estimate for 873,000 in the month.

"We reckon the trend will continue to grind higher given that, int he existing home segment, months’ supply was 2.3 in May, having hovered in a record-low 2.2-to-2.3 range (seasonally adjusted) for the past six months," says Michael Gregory, deputy chief economist for BMO Capital Markets. "Although housing demand has cooled from its torrid pace, the relative inventory situation has barely budged. This means would-be homebuyers will be keeping the new home segment in mind."

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However, IHS Markit's preliminary manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) reading for July rose to 62.6 from 62.1 in May, beating expectations for 61.4. (Any reading over 50 signals expansion.)

Few areas of the market stood out Wednesday, though a few auto manufacturers enjoyed a productive session. Ford (F (opens in new tab), +3.4%) climbed after the EPA estimated that its Mustang Mach-E GT would get 270 miles from a full battery, above the automaker's forecast of 250 miles. Tesla (+5.3%) also popped, albeit on no news, but that helped lift the Nasdaq 0.1% to a new high of 14,271.

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The S&P 500, up for most of the day, slipped late and finished off 0.1% to 4,241, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.2% to 33,874.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 cleared the 2,300 mark again, climbing 0.3% to 2,303..
  • Streaming video stocks Roku (ROKU (opens in new tab), +4.5%) and ViacomCBS (VIAC (opens in new tab), +2.7%) popped today after The Wall Street Journal suggested Comcast (CMCSA (opens in new tab), -3.7%) CEO Brian Roberts is "scoping out options" to expand its footprint in the streaming space. According to the report, people close to Roberts, who has been in the top spot at CMCSA since 1990, said a possible purchase of ROKU or partnership with VIAC were two of the potential ideas floating around.
  • The U.S.-listed shares of Xpeng (XPEV (opens in new tab)) jumped more than 4.1% today after Chinese electric vehicle (EV) name said it was given the OK for its initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, which could raise up to $2 billion for the firm.
  • Gold futures rose 0.3% to settle at $1,783.40 an ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) slipped again, by 2% to 16.33.
  • Bitcoin advanced 1.1% to $32,935.50. (Cryptocurrencies trade 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

stock chart for 062321

(Image credit: YCharts)

Keep Your Eyes on Oil

Sure, "black gold" didn't do much on Wednesday, with U.S. crude oil futures climbing just 0.3% to $73.08 per barrel on the back of a fifth consecutive weekly inventory decline. But oil is now up more than 90% from this same point in 2020, and Wall Street thinks the commodity might have more runway.

"We believe that demand will be the key driver (of oil prices) because suppliers have a strong incentive to keep the status quo – to match current demand, but not much more," says John LaForge, head of real asset strategy for Wells Fargo Investment Institute. "Suppliers are realizing that the more patient they are, the higher oil prices will likely go, and the more money that can be made.

"We believe oil prices should rise as long as global demand growth remains slow and consistent."

Perhaps counterintuitively, that's good news for solar firms and other green energy picks; higher oil prices have traditionally driven interest in alternative energy.

More directly, however, that's a boon for plain ol' energy stocks. Oil firms have been dealing with lower crude prices for years, forcing them to streamline their operations to squeeze whatever profits they can out of a difficult market. But the violent snapback in prices should put more cash in their pockets … and if oil can indeed keep climbing, these 10 energy stocks should dazzle for the rest of the year.

Kyle Woodley was long TSLA as of this writing.

Kyle Woodley

Kyle Woodley is the Editor-in-Chief of Young and The Invested (opens in new tab), a site dedicated to improving the personal finances and financial literacy of parents and children. He also writes the weekly The Weekend Tea (opens in new tab) newsletter, which covers both news and analysis about spending, saving, investing, the economy and more.

Kyle was previously the Senior Investing Editor for, and the Managing Editor for before that. His work has appeared in several outlets, including Yahoo! Finance, MSN Money, Barchart, The Globe & Mail and the Nasdaq. He also has appeared as a guest on Fox Business Network and Money Radio, among other shows and podcasts, and he has been quoted in several outlets, including MarketWatch, Vice and Univision. He is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned a BA in journalism. 

You can check out his thoughts on the markets (and more) at @KyleWoodley (opens in new tab).