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Strong corporate earnings boost stocks

Market sentiment was lifted by earnings beats from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Johnson & Johnson.

Posted: Oct. 17, 2018 10:29 AM
Updated: Oct. 17, 2018 10:37 AM

Stock market volatility is back with a vengeance.

The Dow was down nearly 320 points Wednesday before rebounding from the worst of its losses. At one point, it even moved slightly higher.

Today's moves followed an extremely wild week for the markets.

The Dow plunged more than 830 points last Wednesday and then lost nearly 550 points more the next day. It then rebounded with an almost 300 point gain Friday. The market was calm Monday but the Dow then surged 550 points Tuesday.

So what happened Wednesday?

Strong earnings from Netflix failed to ignite the market. Even though Netflix (NFLX) shares were up 4%, investors were alarmed by downbeat results from IBM (IBM). Big Blue's stock plunged 6% and was one of the biggest drags on the Dow.

Home Depot (HD) also held the Dow back. Shares fell more than 4% following disappointing data about the housing market and worries about rising interest rates. Rival Lowe's (LOW) was down more than 3% as well.

But bank stocks continued to be a bright spot. Wall Street king Goldman Sachs (GS) was up 3%, a day after it and rival Morgan Stanley (MS) both reported solid earnings. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) shares were up 1.5% too.

Investors also may be shifting toward safer stocks in health care and consumer staples that pay nice dividends and could hold up if the economy slows as a result of higher interest rates and lingering trade concerns with China.

Drug makers Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Pfizer (PFE) were each up about 2% and pharmacy giant Walgreens (WBA) rose 1.5%, McDonald's (MCD) was up 2% too. The fast food giant reports its latest earnings on October 23.

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