Stock Market Today: Stocks Notch Third Straight Loss on Earnings Eve

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​It was another choppy day as investors hesitated to make any big moves ahead of third-quarter earnings season, which kicks off tomorrow morning with big bank JPMorgan Chase (JPM, -0.8%).

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“We are paying close attention to third-quarter earnings announcements along with management commentary to gain insight into potential issues surrounding the supply chain of companies and potential disruptions in getting goods or services to market along with company’s ability to find workers,” says Dustin Thackeray, chief investment officer at Crewe Advisors.

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In economic news, the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed that the number of job openings in the U.S. fell to a lower-than-expected 10.4 million in August.

This was hardly market-moving, though, considering “that is just below the upwardly revised record highs (11.098 million) in the prior month,” according to Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO.

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Communication services (-0.9%) was the weakest sector, followed by healthcare (-0.5%) and technology (-0.5%).

As such, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down 0.3% at 34,378, the S&P 500 Index slipped 0.2% to 4,350 and the Nasdaq Composite gave back 0.1% to 14,465 – each marking a third straight loss.

Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 rose 0.6% to 2,234.
  • MGM Resorts International (MGM) jumped 9.6% after Credit Suisse analysts Benjamin Chaiken and Sarah Murray upgraded the casino stock to Outperform from Neutral (the equivalents of Buy and Hold, respectively). “MGM has gone through a transformation, recently announcing four transactions, and we believe the market is not giving full credit,” they say. Specifically, they point to several M&A moves MGM has made recently, including selling its the remaining stake in real estate investment trust (REIT) MGM Growth Properties (MGP, +1.2%) for $4.4 billion, which it called “a major deleveraging event.”
  • Airbnb (ABNB, +3.7%) got an analyst-induced lift today, as well. Cowen analyst Kevin Kopelman lifted his outlook on the real estate rental stock to Outperform (Buy) from Market Perform (Hold), saying Wall Street’s estimates for ABNB’s 2022 and 2023 EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) and gross bookings are conservative. He also believes Airbnb will boost its share of the lodging market to 11% by 2026, compared to 8% this year.
  • U.S. crude futures eked out a 0.1% gain to finish at $80.64 per barrel.
  • Gold futures edged up 0.2% to settle at $1,759.30 an ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) retreated 0.8% to 19.85.
  • Bitcoin prices fell 3.9% to $55,276.20. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

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How to Prepare for 2022

It seems hard to believe, but 2022 is just around the corner.

“While a lot can still happen between now and the end of 2021, we don’t think it’s too early to start thinking about what stocks might do next year,” say Jeff Buchbinder, equity strategist, and Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial.

In addition to forecasts for higher-than-average economic growth and additional earnings gains in 2022 – both of which signal another strong year for stocks – they “expect interest rates to stay low enough to justify maintaining current valuations, which could set the stage for double-digit returns for the S&P 500 next year.”

So how can you prepare? Consider being buyers on the dip, Buchbinder and Detrick note.

In addition to the relative bargains we’ve uncovered among Wall Street’s most elite batch of dividend-paying names, we’ve also compiled a list of the best beaten-up tech stocks to buy right now. These companies have solid balance sheets and strong growth prospects, but thanks to the latest round of market turbulence, shares have pulled back to more attractive valuations. Check them out.

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