Stocks move higher on Wall Street as more earnings roll in

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 | Alex Veiga, AP Business Writer

In this June 16, 2021 file photo, the facade of the New York Stock Exchange. Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street, Wednesday July 21, as the market continues to recover from a sharp drop at the beginning of the week. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Stocks moved higher on Wall Street for a second day Wednesday, recouping more of their losses following a sharp drop at the beginning of the week. Investors have turned their attention to companies' quarterly report cards, which have started to roll in steadily as earnings season ramps up.

The S&P 500 index was up 0.6% as of 2:20 p.m. Eastern. Banks and technology companies helped power much of the benchmark index's gains. Discovery Financial Services rose 3.9% and chipmaker Nvidia gained 3.1%. Energy stocks also rose as the price of U.S. crude oil marched 4.7% higher. Occidental Petroleum vaulted 7.1%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7% and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.6%. Despite Monday's steep drop, all three indexes are now positive for the week.

What's pushing stocks higher the last two days has been better-than-expected results from big corporations. Summer is typically a slow time for Wall Street, with investors and traders taking vacations and holding steady until later this year. The dominant thing that will drive the market, with the exception of big economic reports, will be how well companies do versus expectations.

Dow component Coca-Cola was up 1.4% after the company raised its full-year forecast and reported better-than-expected results. Fast food chain Chipotle Mexican Grill jumped 12.4% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after the company also reported much better than expected results after the closing bell Tuesday.

Not all earnings were positive. Netflix fell 4%, the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, after reporting its worst slowdown in subscriber growth in eight years.

Earnings season will kick into high gear next week, when more than 100 members of the S&P 500 will report their quarter results. So far earnings season has been strong, with more than 80% of the S&P 500 beating analysts' forecasts according to FactSet. That's despite the already high expectations that Wall Street has had for corporations.

Bond yields were recovering from their sharp fall earlier in the week. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was 1.28%, up from 1.20% the day before. The 10-year note's yield had fallen into the teens on Monday on concerns that the delta variant of the coronavirus might impact economic growth globally.

7 Stocks to Watch When Student Debt Forgiveness Gets Passed

Now that the Biden administration is fully in charge, student debt forgiveness has moved to the front burner. Consider these numbers. There is an estimated $1.7 trillion in student debt. The average student carries approximately $30,000 in student loans.

If $10,000 of student debt were to be canceled, there are estimates that one-third of borrowers (between 15 million to 16.3 million) would become debt-free. Of course, if the number hits $50,000 as some lawmakers are suggesting the impact would even greater.

Putting aside personal thoughts on the wisdom of pursuing this path, it has the potential to unleash a substantial stimulus into the economy.

And as an investor, it’s fair to ask where that money would go. After all, there’s no harm in having investors profit from this stimulus as well.

A counter-argument is that the absence of one monthly payment may not provide enough money to make an impact. However, Senator Elizabeth Warren referred to the effect student loans have in preventing many in the millennial and Gen-Z generations from pursuing big picture life goals such as buying a house, starting a business, or starting a family.

With that in mind, we’ve put together this special presentation that looks at 7 stocks that are likely to benefit if borrowers are set free from the burden of student loans.

View the "7 Stocks to Watch When Student Debt Forgiveness Gets Passed".

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