Stock Market Today: Stocks End Down on Another Roller-Coaster Day

The major indexes stage another comeback Tuesday but this time can't escape declines; Microsoft falls after hours despite an earnings beat.

A man closes his eyes on a roller coaster
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Another day, another market session of gut-wrenching volatility.

Like Monday, Tuesday's action saw a precipitous market plunge in the morning hours before the bulls took over in the afternoon – though unlike Monday, none of the major indexes managed to finish in positive territory.

One of the primary reasons for all the rips and dips, of course, is jitters over tomorrow's conclusion of the Federal Reserve's latest two-day meeting, when America's central bank is expected to continue projecting a recent hawkish bent, setting the stage for a potential March hike to its benchmark interest rate, likely the first of several across 2022.

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"It's been breathtaking to watch the dramatic change in expectations surrounding the Fed this year," says Kristina Hooper, Invesco chief global market strategist. "Estimates for rate hikes are all over the place, but they've been trending a lot higher in the past couple of weeks — and we've seen stocks and other risk assets fall in response. There are whispers that the Fed will end asset purchases at this week's meeting; others think the Fed could start to raise rates at this week's meeting.

"And some are anticipating as many as eight rate hikes this year — that may be worse than the giant eight-legged hairy spider under the bed that wanted to kidnap my daughter and bring her back to its human-sized web."

Leading the way in an uneven market was the energy sector (+3.8%), where stocks including ConocoPhillips (COP, +4.9%) and EOG Resources (EOG, +4.5%) were buoyed by U.S. crude oil prices (+2.8% to $85.60 per barrel). Oil surged amid heightening tensions not just between Ukraine and Russia, but also in the Middle East; the United Arab Emirates intercepted two missiles targeting an air base near its capital, Abu Dhabi, an attack it blamed on Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

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Financial stocks (+0.5%) were relatively strong, too, as American Express (AXP, +8.8%) clobbered fourth-quarter revenue and profit expectations thanks to record levels of card spending.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, off 819 points at the session lows, recovered to post a far more modest 66-point, 0.2% decline to 34,297. The S&P 500 (-1.2% to 4,356) and Nasdaq Composite (-2.3% to 13,539) also finished off the bottom, but with more substantial declines.

Microsoft (MSFT, -2.7%) was off another 3% or so in early after-hours trading following a solid top- and bottom-line beat for its fiscal second quarter. Revenues of $51.73 billion were up 20% year-over-year and topped expectations for $50.88 billion. Earnings of $2.48 per share also easily topped estimates of $2.31. Leading the company's quarter was a 25.5% pop in revenue growth in the Intelligent Cloud segment, which includes Azure, GitHub and other products.

stock chart for 012522

(Image credit: YCharts)

Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 declined 1.5% to 2,004.
  • Gold futures rose 0.6% to settle at $1,852.50 an ounce.
  • Bitcoin futures were off slightly, down 0.8% to $36,886.86. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.)
  • General Electric (GE) stock took a 6.0% dive after the industrial conglomerate reported its fourth-quarter results. While GE reported adjusted earnings per share of 92 cents and free cash flow of $8.3 billion – more than the 84 cents per share and $3.2 billion analysts were expecting – revenue of $20.3 billion fell short of the consensus estimate for $21.4 billion in sales.
  • Higher-than-expected adjusted fourth-quarter earnings ($2.13 reported vs. $2.12 expected) and an upbeat full-year forecast gave Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) stock a 2.9% boost, even as the pharmaceutical giant's $24.8 billion in revenues fell short of the $25.3 billion analysts' were anticipating. CFRA Research analyst Stewart Glickman maintained a Buy rating on JNJ in the wake of earnings. "JNJ noted that its net debt position is now its lowest in almost five years, even as research and development rose 20% in 2021, which we think could spur management to boost dividends or perhaps pursue acquisitions (in our view, we see the latter as more likely)," he says.
  • Nvidia (NVDA) fell 4.5% after Bloomberg News reported the semiconductor giant is preparing to abandon its bid for U.K. chip designer Arm, according to people familiar with the matter. The potential deal, which was first announced in September 2020, has faced numerous regulatory hurdles. Per the Bloomberg report, Softbank, which owns Arm, may be considering taking the company public.

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Kyle Woodley was long NVDA as of this writing.

Kyle Woodley

Kyle Woodley is the Editor-in-Chief of WealthUp, a site dedicated to improving the personal finances and financial literacy of people of all ages. 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.