Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today: Financials Lead as S&P 500, Nasdaq Set Fresh Highs

Upward pressure on Treasury rates Wednesday helped spur gains in the financial sector on a modest up day for the major indexes.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite continued to push even further into record territory Wednesday amid a fairly quiet day for the broader markets.

July's durable-goods reading helped provide some positivity; while headline orders declined 0.1% month-over-month, new orders (backing out the volatile transportation category) were up 0.7% MoM.

Treasury yields continued their near-term momentum, climbing as high as 1.35%; that helped financial stocks (+1.2%) produce the day's best sector performance, helped by the likes of JPMorgan Chase (JPM, +2.1%) and Citigroup (C, +1.6%).

Interest rates should remain in the spotlight through Friday, when the Fed holds its annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The event will be entirely virtual this year – "telling us that Fed officials are taking the Delta variant seriously," says LPL Financial Fixed Income Strategist Lawrence Gillum. "We'll have to see if that alters the tapering timeline and, importantly, the market's expectations for when the Fed will start to increase short-term interest rates."

The S&P 500 climbed 0.2% to an all-time high of 4,496, the Nasdaq (+0.2% to 15,041) produced another record finish, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1% to 35,405) inched closer to its Aug. 16 high of 35,62

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

Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 pushed ahead by 0.4% to 2,239.
  • Western Digital (WDC, +7.8%) got a jolt after The Wall Street Journal reported the data storage company is in advanced talks to merge with Japanese NAND flash-memory chip maker Kioxia Holdings, according to people familiar with the matter. The all-stock M&A deal could reportedly be valued at more than $20 billion and be finalized as early as mid-September. 
  • Deere (DE) made headlines after the agricultural equipment maker said it hiked its quarterly dividend to $1.05 per share – a 16.7% increase from its previous payout of 90 cents per share. The new dividend implies an annual yield of 1.1%. DE stock finished the session up 2.3%.
  • U.S. crude oil futures climbed 1.2% to settle at $68.36 per barrel after data from the Energy Information Administration showed domestic crude supplies notched a third straight weekly decline for the week ended Aug. 20.
  • Gold futures fell 1% to finish at $1,791 an ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) declined 3.7% to 16.59.
  • Bitcoin prices gained 1.1% to $48,797.41. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.) 
stock chart for 082521

YCharts

Your Passport to Cheaper Stocks

As stock prices remain aloft, so too do stock valuations.

The S&P 500 is trading at downright decadent multiples – although the index's forward price-to-earnings ratio is slowly thinning out thanks to improving profit estimates, stocks still are trading near 20-year highs, according to Yardeni Research.

Fortunately, value-minded investors can find relief outside our borders, as stocks in several international markets are trading for much more reasonable prices.

The "easy route" to international exposure goes through exchange-traded funds (ETFs). For instance, these 10 international ETFs – selected with an eye toward minimizing exposure to China amid its tight governmental crackdowns of late – provide access to dozens if not hundreds of stocks at once.

But stock pickers certainly have a wealth of options.

The income-minded should start their hunt with overseas payout royalty – Europe and Canada alike each boast their own Dividend Aristocrats, selected for their dedication to regularly improving cash distributions.

However, if you're just looking for overall buy-and-hold excellence, consider these seven international stocks. Each pick possesses a one-two punch of relatively cheap valuation and potent profit-growth potential.

Most Popular

Retirement Income Shouldn’t Depend on the Market; It Should Depend on Math
retirement planning

Retirement Income Shouldn’t Depend on the Market; It Should Depend on Math

The math isn’t as tough as you might think. It all starts with dividing your assets into three different buckets.
May 23, 2022
Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
Why Are Gas Prices Still Going Up?
spending

Why Are Gas Prices Still Going Up?

The cost of a gallon of gas is heading back toward its March highs. What’s driving the resurgence, and will gas prices go down anytime soon?
May 23, 2022

Recommended

Stock Market Today (5/24/22): Oh, Snap! Social Swoon Keeps Market Guessing
Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today (5/24/22): Oh, Snap! Social Swoon Keeps Market Guessing

Social media platform Snap's dour outlook triggered a rout in the communication services sector that dragged down the Nasdaq.
May 24, 2022
Stock Market Today (5/23/22): Stocks Come Out Swinging to Start the Week
Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today (5/23/22): Stocks Come Out Swinging to Start the Week

Financial stocks led a broad-based rally in equities to kick off the week. Strategists looked for signs that this latest recovery attempt can last.
May 23, 2022
7 Great GARP Stocks to Buy Now
stocks

7 Great GARP Stocks to Buy Now

Growth at a reasonable price (GARP) stocks are investing's version of having your cake and eating it too.
May 23, 2022
Best Buy Kicks Off Heavy Week of Retail Earnings
stocks

Best Buy Kicks Off Heavy Week of Retail Earnings

Our preview of the upcoming week's earnings reports includes Best Buy (BBY), Nvidia (NVDA) and Dollar General (DG).
May 23, 2022