Stock Market Today: Stocks Rise Ahead of Midterms

The Dow outperformed thanks to a major M&A-related boost for drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance.

stock market chart
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stocks gained ground Monday as investors looked ahead to a busy week of earnings and economic data, as well as Tuesday's highly anticipated midterm elections.

While the outcome of the midterms will certainly draw some interest from investors, the results of Thursday's consumer price index will likely be more important to markets. "It is still all about inflation and while this report might not be as hot as the last few, it still should show that rents and the core-service sector part of the economy are still hot," says Edward Moya, senior market strategist at currency data provider OANDA. "Inflation might not fall as quickly as some Fed members are expecting and that could support the idea that rates will stay higher for longer."

As for today's market, the S&P 500 Index rose 1.0% to 3,806 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.9% to 10,564. However, it was the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+1.3% at 32,827) that led the path higher as blue-chip drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA (opens in new tab)) gained 4.1% on news it will invest $3.5 billion in primary care provider VillageMD's acquisition of Summit Health, an owner of urgent care centers. WBA is VillageMD's largest shareholder with a roughly 53% stake.

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In other individual stock news, data mining firm Palantir Technologies (PLTR (opens in new tab)) slid 11.5% after the company's third-quarter profit fell short of the consensus estimate. On the flip side, Facebook parent Meta Platforms (META (opens in new tab)) jumped 6.5% after the company said it is planning to start laying off thousands of employees later this week.

Behind Berkshire's Q3 Earnings

Also in the winner's circle today was Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B (opens in new tab)). Shares of BRK.B rose 1.0% after the holding company released its third-quarter earnings report over the weekend. While the bear market took a toll on Berkshire's bottom line over the three-month period, its diversified income stream – which includes companies ranging from battery maker Duracell to healthcare liability insurance provider MedPro Group – was useful in propping up other sections of its financial statement. 

Among the highlights of BRK.B's Q3 results were a 20% year-over-year pop in operating income and higher-than-expected earnings per share. Read on to see what other notable developments occurred for Berkshire in Q3, and why BRK.B remains a top defensive stock in what has been a turbulent year for the broader equities market.

Karee Venema
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger.com

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is an investing editor and options expert at Kiplinger.com. She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.