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Stock Market News for Oct 20, 2021

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The S&P 500 and Nasdaq recoded the largest four consecutive winning stretch since July, lifted by an encouraging third-quarter corporate earnings result. Benchmarks closed in the green on Tuesday as better-than-expected reports eased investors’ concerns regarding the rise in coronavirus’ delta variant cases and supply-chain constraints leading to the rise in inflation.

How Did the Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 198.70 points, or 0.6%, to close at 35,457.31, with Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK - Free Report) leading the rally with 3% gain. Merck carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The S&P 500 rose 33.17 points, or 0.7%, to close at 4,519.63 on Tuesday. 10 of the 11 major sectors of the broader index closed in the green led by 1.3% gain in health and utilities sectors. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 15,129.09, after adding 107.28 points, or 0.7%, led by 4.7% gain in shares of Baidu, Inc. (BIDU - Free Report) .

On Tuesday, the fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 3.7%, to close at 15.70. Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.51 -to-1 ratio. A total of 9.5 billion shares were traded yesterday, lower than the last 20-session average of 10.29 billion.

Better-than-expected Q3 Earnings Lifts Market

On Tuesday, corporates continue to report better-than-expected third-quarter earnings results which helped ease investors’ concerns revolving around the impact of the rise in Covid-19 cases from the highly contagious delta variant and rising inflation.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) reported third-quarter 2021 earnings of $2.60 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.37. The drugmaker’s shares closed 2.3% after it reported that brought in $502 million in worldwide sales of its COVID-19 vaccine and earnings increased 18.2% from the year-ago period. (Read More)

The Procter & Gamble Company (PG - Free Report) reported first-quarter fiscal 2022 earnings of $1.61 per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.59. However, the consumer-packaged goods company’s shares slid 1.2% after the company lowered fiscal 2022 estimates based on predictions of increased impacts from commodity and freight costs. (Read More)

Yesterday, Philip Morris International Inc. (PM - Free Report) also reported third-quarter 2021 earnings of $1.58 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.54. The company reported net revenues of $8,122 million which is a 9.1% rise from the figure reported in the year-ago quarter. However, the global semiconductor shortage is hampering the supply of IQOS devices and its shares dipped 1.7%. (Read More)

Homebuilders’ September Data Disappoints

On Tuesday, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development jointly reported that housing starts declined 1.6%,at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.555 million, much lower than the consensus estimate of 1.614 million and August’s downwardly revised figure of 1.580 million.

Additionally, building permits in September were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.589 million, a 7.7% decline from August’s downwardly revised rate of 1.721 million. Although housing starts are up 7.4% from the same period last month, shortage of labor and building materials are creating hurdles for homebuilders to finish and project delivery timeline.