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Stock market news live updates: Stocks rise for the first time in three days; Dow gains 317 points, or 0.9%

Emily McCormick
·Reporter
·7-min read
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 Stocks rose on Wednesday for the first time in three sessions. 

[Click here to read what's moving markets heading into Thursday, April 22]

The S&P 500 and Dow each reversed earlier losses to trade higher. The Nasdaq also rose even as shares of Netflix (NFLX) weighed on the index. Netflix sank 7% after the company reported first-quarter subscriber growth that sharply missed expectations, suggesting the boost the tech company received while people were at home during the pandemic was rapidly unwinding. 

But Netflix aside, the majority of other major companies reporting earnings reports over the past two weeks have topped consensus expectations. Still, the three major stock indexes have languished in recent days even given the stream of positive reports. Concerns over a near-term peak in growth in the early innings of the COVID-19 recovery have risen and conflated with fears over an impending rise in input costs for companies and prices for consumers. 

"We've moved along from being driven by sentiment and momentum, and now investors are starting to focus more on fundamentals," Ryan Nauman, market strategist at Informa Financial Intelligence, told Yahoo Finance. "We've had this fantastic rally ... and I think investors are just pausing right now to digest more fundamentals, more of the earnings releases that are going to start coming out over the next couple weeks."

"One of the reasons why we have seen markets pull back the last couple days and trading volume has been light over the past couple weeks are, investors are starting to realize, I think, that there is a lot of froth." Nauman added. "There is excessive exuberance out there."

Other strategists echoed similar sentiments, noting that investors have had to work harder to find reasons to continue piling into stocks given that upbeat prospects of a post-pandemic recovery and an economic growth acceleration already well-known. 

Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said there were two data points specifically that gave her firm pause about the the near-term potential for the stock market to rally further into the second half of 2021. The S&P 500 has so far risen 10% in 2021.

"The first is 52% — that’s the growth rate anticipated in 2Q21, which consensus numbers imply will be the peak (in terms of the growth rate, not the dollar value)," Calvasina wrote in a note Tuesday. "This isn’t a great data point for the bulls, though it isn’t a great one for the bears either. Over the past few decades, when the S&P 500 EPS growth rate has made an early cycle peak, performance has been down 6 months later." 

"The second data point that gives us pause is 66%. That’s the percent of sell-side EPS [earnings per share] estimate revisions that have been to the upside over the past four weeks," she added. "While still reflecting the fact that there have been more upward revisions than downward revisions recently, this stat is down from 71% last December. This is something else that suggests the stock market rally may be losing a little steam." 

4:03 p.m. ET: Stocks rise for the first time in three days; Dow gains 317 points, or 0.9%

Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:03 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +38.50 (+0.93%) to 4,173.44

  • Dow (^DJI): +316.93 (+0.94%) to 34,138.23

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +163.95 (+1.19%) to 13,950.22

  • Crude (CL=F): -$1.61 (-2.57%) to $61.06 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$16.70 (+0.94%) to $1,795.10 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +0.2 bps to yield 1.5640%

1:05 p.m. ET: 'We think we can have our growth cake and eat the recovery too': Strategist

With markets seesawing between cyclical and value, and tech and growth leadership, many strategists have advocated a "barbell approach," or stock allocations that split the difference between chasing growth and companies with earnings closely tied to an economic recovery. 

“We think we can have our growth cake and eat the recovery too. So what we’re trying to find is the best of both worlds – companies that can gain market share, have strong returns on capital, high competitive advantages, all those things, but also benefit from a recovery in markets," Brad Neuman, investment strategist at Alger, told Yahoo Finance. "So I think a lot of these stocks are represented in the recently launched product at Alger called the Alger Mid-Cap 40, which combines what we think is the best of both active management and ETFs to give you good liquidity, tax efficiency and low costs. So in there, we have exposure to things like restaurants, banks, travel-related companies, but they’re growth companies.”

11:23 a.m. ET: Stocks turn positive 

The S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq rose in intraday trading on Wednesday, shaking off earlier declines as some investors moved to buy the recent dip in equities. 

The materials, healthcare and industrials sectors led gains in the S&P 500. Only the utilities and communication services sectors were in the red in the blue-chip index, with a 7% drop in shares of Netflix weighing on the latter. 

The Dow added nearly 150 points, or 0.4%, as shares of Dow Inc. and IBM outperformed. 

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks open slightly lower

Here's where markets were trading after the opening bell Wednesday morning:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -4.09 points (-0.1%) to 4,130.85

  • Dow (^DJI): -12.61 points (-0.04%) to 33,808.69

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -37.85 points (-0.27%) to 13,746.96

  • Crude (CL=F): -$1.66 (+2.65%) to $61.01 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$6.20 (+0.35%) to $1,784.60 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +0.6 bps to yield 1.568%

9:10 a.m. ET: Mortgage applications rose by the most since January last week as rates moderated

Mortgage applications jumped 8.6% in the week ended April 16, marking the biggest jump since late January as mortgage rates pulled back following a surge, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). 

The 8.6% rise followed six consecutive weekly drops in mortgage applications. Beneath the headline increase, refinances increased 10% compared to the prior week, but were 23% lower than the same week a year ago. Purchases rose 6% on a seasonally adjusted basis, and were 57% higher than the same period a week ago on an unadjusted basis. 

“Mortgage rates dropped to their lowest levels in around two months, prompting a small resurgence in refinance activity after six weeks of declines. Borrowers acted on the decrease in rates for most loan types, with both conventional and government refinance applications showing gains,” Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting, said in a statement. 

“The spring housing market also saw a boost from lower rates, with purchase applications – driven by a jump in conventional applications – increasing over 5%," he added. "MBA expects the purchase market to remain strong, with the recovering job market and supportive demographics fueling housing demand in the months ahead.”

7:17 a.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures trade mixed, Netflix weighs on Nasdaq 

Here's where markets were trading Wednesday morning: 

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4,130.00, up 3.5 points or 0.08%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 33,735.00, up 32 points or 0.09%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,782.50, down 11.75 points or 0.09%

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.84 (-1.34%) to $61.83 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$2.90 (+0.16%) to $1,781.30 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +0.9 bps to yield 1.571%

6:02 p.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures edge lower 

Here's where markets were trading as the overnight session began.

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4,122.00, down 4.5 point or 0.11%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 33,702.00, down 1 point or 0.00%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,734.5, down 50.75 points or 0.37%

A nearly deserted Wall Street and the steps of Federal Hall are seen in lower Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., April 3, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A nearly deserted Wall Street and the steps of Federal Hall are seen in lower Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., April 3, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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