The stock market has been unnervingly similar to a pendulum lately. One day European bond markets have investors shaking in their boots, leading to a massive sell-off and pushing the pendulum into the red -- while the next day all is forgotten and the pendulum swings back into the green. Today, investors had a change to exhale while European debt was financed at acceptable levels; the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) closed up 0.58% and finished above the 13,000 mark once again. The S&P 500 also finished in positive territory, up 37 points, but there was no such love for the Nasdaq, which closed down 0.30%.
Not up to expectations?
AT&T (NYS: T) reported earnings today, handily beating expectations and leading the Dow higher. The company increased first-quarter earnings by 5.2%. But it was another part of the earnings release that had investors worried: iPhone sales growth. AT&T reported a decrease in iPhone sales, leading to a continued sell-off of Apple (NAS: AAPL) shares. But with Apple releasing first-quarter data soon afterwards -- and once again smashing expectations -- its shares shot up around 7% after hours.
Not only did the Nasdaq recoil with the pre-close Apple decline, but it also took a hit from the freefalling Netflix (NAS: NFLX) . Investors heavily discounted the home-entertainment company as competition continues to eat away at its prospects. Netflix closed the day down 13.9%.
Economic data didn't take its toll on the markets today -- it pretty much stayed unnoticed. The latest Case-Shiller report came out today, stating that U.S. single-family homes took a step in the right direction by showing price increases for the first time in almost a year. This is great news for a sector that's been in shambles since 2008. However, actual home sales decreased to their lowest level in four months.
In line with home sales, consumer confidence also decreased in April. However, tomorrow will be a telling day, with the Federal Open Market Committee meeting to discuss the state of the economy. This meeting gets a lot of close scrutiny because it can decide future monetary policy, and it could also carry political ramifications. This being the final year of the current presidential term, it's imperative to stay current with current political agendas and the benefits or consequences they can cause to your portfolio. We can help you do just that with "Stocks That Could Skyrocket After the 2012 Presidential Election." Get a free copy of this insightful report now!
At the time thisarticle was published Joel South and The Motley Fool own shares of Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Netflix and Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.