Stock Market Today: Apple Sets New High on Mixed Day for the Market

Stocks failed to find common direction on Wednesday as investors digested more signs of surging inflation but also signals that the Fed won't ease policy anytime soon.

Apple iPhone 12 Pros are shown in an Apple store.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stocks endured another up-and-down session Wednesday amid a deluge of headlines, though unlike yesterday, a couple of the major indexes escaped with gains.

The latest producer price report confirmed what consumer price data told us yesterday: inflation is surging. The headline producer price index rose 1.0% month-over-month, and 7.3% year-over-year, to topple expectations.

"This continued acceleration in prices is consistent with our view that core goods CPI will remain strong this year and continue to outperform its historical trend of the past three decades," says Barclays economist Pooja Sriram.

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Regardless, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell indicated in testimony to Congress that easy monetary policies were likely to persist at least in the near term; investors keyed in on Powell's statement that "substantial further progress" in the labor market was still a ways off.

Meanwhile, banks continued their strong second-quarter earnings season, with Citigroup (C (opens in new tab), -0.3%) and Wells Fargo (WFC (opens in new tab), +4.0%) both beating bottom-line expectations.

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And Apple (AAPL (opens in new tab), +2.4%) hit a new high after JPMorgan added the stock to its "Focus List" amid boisterous iPhone and Mac sales. Also aiding the stock was a Bloomberg report, citing people with knowledge of the matter, saying Apple has asked suppliers to build up to 90 million next-gen iPhones, marking a significant jump from last year's shipments. AAPL shares are up more than 17% in the past month.

The major indexes enjoyed modest gains, led by the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1% to 34,933). The S&P 500 also gained 0.1% to 4,374, while the Nasdaq Composite finished down 0.2% to 14,644. Small caps continued their recent struggles, with the Russell 2000 off 1.6% to 2,202.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • Delta Air Lines (DAL (opens in new tab)) gave back 1.6% in the wake of its second-quarter earnings report. For the three-month period, the major airline reported net income of $652 million, its first profit in six quarters. Excluding the $1.5 billion in federal payroll aid it received during the quarter, DAL recorded an adjusted per-share loss of $1.07, though that was slimmer than analysts were expecting. Delta's $7.1 billion in revenue also beat the consensus estimate.
  • In non-earnings news, AMC Entertainment (AMC (opens in new tab)) continued to decline amid a broad selloff in meme stocks. AMC shed 15.0% today to bring its month-to-date loss to more than 30% (though it's still up mor ethan 1,440% for the year to date). Some other notable Reddit stocks that slumped today include GameStop (GME (opens in new tab), -6.9%), Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE (opens in new tab), -7.8%) and BlackBerry (BB (opens in new tab), -3.8%).
  • U.S. crude oil futures fell 2.8% to end at $73.13 per barrel. "Oil prices have been moving lower following a report ahead of the open that Saudi Arabia has reached an agreement with the United Arab Emirates to boost their baseline," says Michael Reinking, senior market strategist for the New York Stock Exchange. "Since then, there have been multiple reports that this does not necessarily have the full support of other members yet."
  • Gold futures rose 0.8% to settle at $1,825.00 an ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) slipped 4.6% to 16.33.
  • Bitcoin rebounded 1.3% to $32,724.50. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

stock chart for 071421

(Image credit: YCharts)

Real Estate Keeps Raking It In

One of the S&P 500's best sectors of 2021 remains one of the few places to find high yield. The real estate sector was one of Wednesday's top gainers at 0.9%, extending its year-to-date total returns to 27.1%, behind only energy stocks (+41.0%) in 2021.

Despite that recovery after a dreadful 2020, the S&P 500 real estate sector still offers up a yield of just more than 3%, dwarfing the broader index's 1.3%. However, while most real estate investment trusts (REITs) have been red-hot this year, a few bargains remain.

Investors typically benefit by paying less for good stocks, but especially in the real estate sector, value is a potent one-two punch – not only do undervalued stocks have greater potential for price appreciation, but they also offer higher dividend yields on their original cost basis too.

Here, we have highlighted seven value-priced REITs that offer a combination of fair prices, improving profits and sturdy fundamentals.

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.