Stock Market Today: High Consumer Confidence Fails to Stir Stocks

Tuesday's market action was mostly mixed, but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq gained enough to set new highs.

screen trading shot with arrows pointed higher
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stocks didn't move much Tuesday, nor did they move in the same direction. But investors provided just enough buying action to keep the major indexes in the green – and to keep the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 aloft in record territory.

Most notable among Tuesday's upbeat news was a surge in the Conference Board's index of consumer confidence, which jumped to 127.3 in June from 120.0 in May, marking its highest reading since February of last year.

"Consumers' assessments of both the present situation and short-term outlook improved, likely aided by re-opening measures, low case counts and expectations of a return of activity to pre-pandemic levels," says Barclays economist Pooja Sriram.

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Financial stocks were a mixed bunch amid a slew of dividend increases.

Investment banks in particular enjoyed share-price gains after hiking their payouts. Morgan Stanley (MS (opens in new tab), +3.4%) doubled its dividend to 70 cents per share, while Goldman Sachs (GS (opens in new tab), +1.1%) announced a 60% hike to $2 per share. Mega-banks, however, saw their stocks decline, even after giving generous raises of their own. Wells Fargo (WFC (opens in new tab), -2.2%) doubled its dividend to 20 cents per share, and Bank of America (BAC (opens in new tab), -1.6%) authorized a 16.7% raise to 21 cents per share. Citigroup (C (opens in new tab), -2.6%), meanwhile, left its payout untouched.

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The Nasdaq closed 0.2% higher to a record 14,528. The S&P 500 finished up marginally, by a mere point, but it was enough for a new high of 4,291. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also finished with a minimal gain to 34,292.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 declined by 0.6% to 2,308.
  • Skyworks Solutions (SWKS (opens in new tab)) jumped 4.5% today after Citi (Neutral) put the semiconductor name on "positive catalyst watch." The research firm cited its supply chain checks which show higher-than-expected next-gen iPhone builds. SWKS makes 5G-enabled components for smartphones and other devices. Citi maintained a $182 price target; SWKS closed Wednesday at $190.95.
  • Several homebuilder stocks gained ground after the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index showed home prices spiked 14.6% year-over-year in April. Among those finishing in the green today were Lennar (LEN (opens in new tab), +0.8%), D.R. Horton (DHI (opens in new tab), +1.0%) and PulteGroup (PHM (opens in new tab), +2.0%).
  • U.S. crude oil futures eked out a marginal gain to settle at $72.98 per barrel.
  • Gold futures slipped 1% to end at $1,763.60 an ounce – their lowest finish since April.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) improved by 1.8% to $16.05.
  • Bitcoin prices jumped 5.6% to $36.399.70. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.

stock chart for 062921

(Image credit: YCharts)

What's Ahead in This Bull Market's Next Stage?

The Wells Fargo Investment Institute reminds us that we're not just at the midpoint of the year – we're also in year two of a new bull market. And their forward-looking sector strategy could be easily summed up as "second verse, same as the first."

Says WFII: "In the first year of this new equity bull market, our sector guidance shifted to include favorable ratings on economically sensitive sectors, such as Financials, Industrials, and Materials, and we have upgraded the energy sector to favorable. … Cyclical sectors historically have maintained leadership in the second year of bull markets, and we expect similar relative outperformance early in this cycle."

We've recently outlined potential second-half winners in several of these sectors – this short list of industrial stocks, for instance, or this group of 10 energy picks that could thrive amid continued high oil prices.

You also can find plenty of potential in a number of plays highlighted at the very beginning of the year. Our 21 best stocks for 2021 are looking good so far, outperforming the market by roughly 2 percentage points at a recent check. And they still look good, as many of the same catalysts that made them attractive initially – global vaccination against COVID, reheating economies and a resurgence of corporate earnings – are still in play.

Check out the full list by clicking the link above, and see how each is faring as we hit 2021's midpoint.

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.