Stock Market Today: Stocks Maintain Altitude With Q2 Earnings on Deck

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The major indexes largely kicked off the new week the same way they exited the last: chalking up more gains from all-time-high perches.

On a slow-news day, much of the market’s optimism was likely tied to what’s to come – namely, the start of a second-quarter earnings season that many believe will be chock full of explosive year-over-year growth.

“As of today, the S&P 500 is expected to report (year-over-year) earnings growth of 64.0% for the second quarter,” says John Butters, senior earnings analyst at FactSet. “If 64.0% is the actual growth rate for the quarter, it will mark the highest earnings growth rate reported by the index since Q4 2009 (109.1%).”

A few individual names stood out in today’s trade. Tesla (TSLA, +4.4%) jumped after UBS analysts said the company should benefit from Germany’s extension of a 9,000-euro subsidy for electric-vehicle purchases. And Disney (DIS, +4.2%) gained after its latest Marvel movie, Black Widow, garnered $80 million at the box office and another $60 million-plus from its Disney+ streaming service.

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The major indexes didn’t move much, but they continued to reset the record books. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.4% to 34,996), S&P 500 Index (+0.4% to 4,384) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.2% to 14,733) all finished with fresh closing highs.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 ended 0.08% higher at 2,281.
  • L Brands (LB) jumped 4.2% after the retailer said its board of directors approved the spin-off of its Victoria’s Secret brand into its own publicly traded company. The new firm will be named Victoria’s Secret & Co. and will likely begin trading on Tuesday, Aug. 3, under the ticker “VSCO.” L Brands, meanwhile, will change its name to Bath & Body Works, Inc., and is expected to begin trading under its new symbol, “BBWI,” on Aug. 3, as well.
  • It was another volatile session for Virgin Galactic (SPCE), which tumbled 17.3% after the company launched a test spaceflight this weekend that had founder Richard Branson onboard. Weighing on SPCE today, though, was news of its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to sell $500 million in common stock. Even with today’s drop, the stock remains up 71.5% for the year to date.
  • U.S. crude oil futures fell 0.6% to end at $74.10 per barrel.
  • Gold futures slipped 0.3% to settle at $1,805.90 an ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) fell 0.06% to 16.17.
  • Bitcoin gave back 1.8% to $32,844.97. “After a 50% correction across the Crypto markets we are in a consolidation mode which is healthy for the next bull run,” says Charlie Silver, CEO of Permission.io. “If [Bitcoin] holds support at 30k through the summer, I think we are poised for a great Q4 rally.” (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.

Where to Find Above-Average Yield

It’s hard to find much fault with a stock market that has regularly posted records for weeks. But one cohort of investors might have a minor gripe: It is awfully difficult to find high-quality sources of sufficient yield.

The S&P 500’s yield has dropped to 1.34% from 1.91% a year ago, according to data from the Nasdaq’s Quandl platform – its lowest yield since 2001.

Fortunately, there are always a few corners of the market that typically are good for above-average yield.

Master limited partnerships (MLPs), for instance, might be fewer in number than they were years ago, but mid-single-digit yields are commonplace among them. Many monthly dividend stocks and funds also tend to deliver ample income.

But if you value a variety of choices when assembling your income portfolio, we have a collection of stocks for you to start with. These 10 high-quality stocks each boast a yield of at least 4%, or three times the S&P 500 average, and each gets a collective favorable nod from the analysts that cover them.