Stocks rallied last week on a stream of positive corporate earnings surprises.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.08%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 advanced 1.64%. The Nasdaq Composite index gained 1.29% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, was up 0.23%.1,2,3
Earnings Ignite Rally
Fears over inflation, supply shortages, and slowing economic growth in China were pushed aside last week as investors reacted to a daily succession of positive corporate earnings surprises. After the Dow Industrials reached an all-time high intraday on Wednesday, fresh earnings reports, an increase in existing home sales, and a new pandemic low in initial jobless claims–and continuing claims–propelled the S&P 500 index to a new record high the following session.4,5
Disappointing earnings before the market opened on Friday hurt a few social media stocks, resulting in a choppy trading session and a selloff in the Nasdaq to close out the week.
Solid Start To Season
Investors came into the earnings season anxious about whether businesses could extend the earnings growth momentum of recent quarters amid an increase in Delta infections, inflation, labor shortages, and supply-chain bottlenecks. The early results were encouraging. Of the 23% of companies comprising the S&P 500 index that have reported, 84% beat Wall Street consensus earnings estimates by an average of more than 13%.6
The earnings season may get more uneven in coming weeks since many of the companies potentially affected by labor shortages and inflation have yet to report. Nevertheless, these better-than-expected earnings buoyed investor spirits and allowed stocks to build on their October gains.
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Footnotes and Sources
2. The Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2021
3. The Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2021
4. CNBC, October 20, 2021
5. The Wall Street Journal, October 21, 2021
6. FactSet, October 22, 2021
7. IRS.gov, June 8, 2021
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Weekly Market Insights: Strong Week on Wall Street
October 25, 2021