Stock Market Today: Stocks Maintain Altitude With Q2 Earnings on Deck

Optimism over what should be a blowout Q2 earnings season helped lift the major indexes to new highs on an otherwise low-news Monday.

airplane flying in sky
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The major indexes largely kicked off the new week the same way they exited the last: chalking up more gains from all-time-high perches.

On a slow-news day, much of the market's optimism was likely tied to what's to come – namely, the start of a second-quarter earnings season that many believe will be chock full of explosive year-over-year growth.

"As of today, the S&P 500 is expected to report (year-over-year) earnings growth of 64.0% for the second quarter," says John Butters, senior earnings analyst at FactSet. "If 64.0% is the actual growth rate for the quarter, it will mark the highest earnings growth rate reported by the index since Q4 2009 (109.1%)."

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A few individual names stood out in today's trade. Tesla (TSLA, +4.4%) jumped after UBS analysts said the company should benefit from Germany's extension of a 9,000-euro subsidy for electric-vehicle purchases. And Disney (DIS, +4.2%) gained after its latest Marvel movie, Black Widow, garnered $80 million at the box office and another $60 million-plus from its Disney+ streaming service.

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The major indexes didn't move much, but they continued to reset the record books. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.4% to 34,996), S&P 500 Index (+0.4% to 4,384) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.2% to 14,733) all finished with fresh closing highs.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 ended 0.08% higher at 2,281.
  • L Brands (LB) jumped 4.2% after the retailer said its board of directors approved the spin-off of its Victoria's Secret brand into its own publicly traded company. The new firm will be named Victoria's Secret & Co. and will likely begin trading on Tuesday, Aug. 3, under the ticker "VSCO." L Brands, meanwhile, will change its name to Bath & Body Works, Inc., and is expected to begin trading under its new symbol, "BBWI," on Aug. 3, as well.
  • It was another volatile session for Virgin Galactic (SPCE), which tumbled 17.3% after the company launched a test spaceflight this weekend that had founder Richard Branson onboard. Weighing on SPCE today, though, was news of its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to sell $500 million in common stock. Even with today's drop, the stock remains up 71.5% for the year to date.
  • U.S. crude oil futures fell 0.6% to end at $74.10 per barrel.
  • Gold futures slipped 0.3% to settle at $1,805.90 an ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) fell 0.06% to 16.17.
  • Bitcoin gave back 1.8% to $32,844.97. "After a 50% correction across the Crypto markets we are in a consolidation mode which is healthy for the next bull run," says Charlie Silver, CEO of "If [Bitcoin] holds support at 30k through the summer, I think we are poised for a great Q4 rally." (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)

Where to Find Above-Average Yield

It's hard to find much fault with a stock market that has regularly posted records for weeks. But one cohort of investors might have a minor gripe: It is awfully difficult to find high-quality sources of sufficient yield.

The S&P 500's yield has dropped to 1.34% from 1.91% a year ago, according to data from the Nasdaq's Quandl platform – its lowest yield since 2001.

Fortunately, there are always a few corners of the market that typically are good for above-average yield.

Master limited partnerships (MLPs), for instance, might be fewer in number than they were years ago, but mid-single-digit yields are commonplace among them. Many monthly dividend stocks and funds also tend to deliver ample income.

But if you value a variety of choices when assembling your income portfolio, we have a collection of stocks for you to start with. These 10 high-quality stocks each boast a yield of at least 4%, or three times the S&P 500 average, and each gets a collective favorable nod from the analysts that cover them.

Kyle Woodley

Kyle Woodley is the Editor-in-Chief of Young and The Invested, a site dedicated to improving the personal finances and financial literacy of parents and children. He also writes the weekly The Weekend Tea 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.