Another morning rally lost its energy midway through the session … but this time, stocks mustered a second wind.
For the first time in a while, COVID-19 news took a turn for the better, with the CDC reporting a seven-day moving average of 136,558 daily new cases, down nearly 13% from the prior average of 156,341.
Wall Street also digested some new tax proposals that Congress released over the weekend. House Democrats proposed plans to raise the top tax rate on corporations and wealthy individuals, hike the top capital-gains rate to 25% from 20%, and add a 3% surcharge on any taxable income over $5 million.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.8% to 34,869) kept its head above water thanks to UnitedHealth Group (UNH, +2.6%) and Chevron (CVX, +2.0%), with the latter benefiting from a 1.1% rise in U.S. crude oil futures, to $70.45 per barrel, on continued supply issues caused by Hurricane Ida. The Dow snapped a five-day losing streak, as did the S&P 500, which managed to climb out of the red and score a modest 0.2% gain, to 4,468.
Other news in the stock market today:
- The small-cap Russell 2000 also finished in positive territory, improving by 0.6% to 2,240.
- Apple (AAPL) finished near the middle of the pack among its fellow Dow stocks, gaining 0.4% on the day. The tech giant will be in focus tomorrow, however, with the Apple launch event slated to kick off at 1 p.m. ET. Among the expected reveals: the iPhone 13.
- COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna (MRNA) was a notable decliner, shedding 6.6%. Today’s drop came after an article – written by a group of scientists, including a pair of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials, and published in peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet – said most people will not need vaccine boosters at this time. While booster shots could be beneficial to those with weakened immune systems, the authors wrote, broader efforts should be focused on getting shots to those that are currently unvaccinated.
- Gold futures settled up 0.1% at $1,794.40 an ounce.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) dipped 7.5% to 19.37.
- Bitcoin’s struggles continued, with the cryptocurrency declining 1.9% over the weekend to $44,759.94. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
A Way to Smooth Out Your September?
Stocks remain down in September, but will the month continue living up to its mopey billing?
“September is historically a tough month, and the first week was not a good sign,” says Anthony Denier, CEO of trading platform Webull. “Fears of rising inflation contributed to last week’s losses and tomorrow the CPI comes out. Wall Street economists expect a 5.3% rise in August. On Friday, the Fed will release data on wholesales prices. If those two reports come out negative, I think there may be rough waters ahead.”
Of course, it’s volatility – not a bloodbath – that most market strategists foresee.
For instance, Richard Saperstein, chief investment officer of wealth advisory Treasury Partners, says “The next six weeks tend to be seasonally weak for stocks, which is an additional worry for a stock market that is already facing elevated valuations and a lack of near-term upside catalysts.” But he adds that despite expecting increased stock market volatility in the near term, “long-term investors should use pullbacks to add to stock exposure.”
Happily, investors have ample tools at their disposal to cope with moody markets. For example, the Dividend Aristocrats and their decades of uninterrupted payout growth tend to provide stability amid bouts of volatility. Or for those who’d prefer to get a larger chunk of their returns through dividends, these high-quality high-yielders might be more appealing.
Investors can even go a step further in tamping down risk by owning a bundle of well-respected dividend payers in a single fund. These 11 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have but one thing in common: They all hold dividend stocks. Past that, each ETF represents a vastly different approach to equity income generation – meaning there’s something on this list for just about every type of investor.