Alcoa rallied Wednesday after reporting its second quarter results Tuesday after the bell, fueling hope on Wall Street that the earnings season will be strong. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) gained 78 points, while the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) was up 27 points, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) picked up 9 points.
Alcoa's (AA) report unofficially marks the beginning of each earnings season, and the aluminum giant impressed investors, rising more than 5.5 percent. Its cost cutting efforts paid off, and earnings and revenue topped expectations. So far this year, the stock is up 47 percent.
Also handing in earnings scorecards were:
AeroVironment (AVAV), a drone-maker. It posted a profit in its last quarter and raised its guidance and the stock rallied 13 percent.
Restaurant and food company Bob Evans (BOBE), which is blaming the weather for its lowered earnings forecast for the year. That disappointed investors and the stock slipped almost 4.5 percent.
Container Store (TCS) earnings weren't impressive. The company's full-year guidance is also below consensus and its problems aren't just weather-related. The stock fell 8 percent.
Gigamon (GIMO) really tanked, falling 32 percent. The networking hardware firm lowered its revenue guidance ahead of earnings out on July 24. It said it had difficulty closing deals.
GPS products maker Garmin (GRMN) was among the biggest losers, down 4.5 percent. It was downgraded by Pacific Crest. The worry is that Apple's iWatch, which is expected to appear soon, could cut even further into Garmin business.
%VIRTUAL-WSSCourseInline-876%Financial services firm D.A. Davidson initiated coverage of F5 Networks (FFIV) with a buy rating. F5, which competes with Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Juniper Networks (JNPR), was up more than 2 percent.
Airline stocks rebounded from some heavy selling over the past few sessions. Delta Air Lines (DAL) gained almost 1.5 percent, Southwest Airlines (LUV) was up almost 2 percent, JetBlue (JBLU) added 1.5 percent and American Airlines (AAL) was up more than 4 percent.
Momentum stocks that sold off in Tuesday's session rebounded, too. Facebook (FB) was up 3.5 percent, Twitter (TWTR) added more than 1.5 percent, TripAdvisor (TRIP) rose 2 percent.
Biotech king Celgene (CELG) came out with bad news: A drug it was working on to fight a type of arthritis fell short of its goals in clinical trials, but the stock gained 2 percent anyway. Analysts said the drug's success wasn't vital to its business.
And finally, Reynolds American (RAI) rose more than 2 percent on reports British American Tobacco wants to buy the portion of the company it doesn't already own. That would certainly upend the deal it reportedly is discussing with Lorillard (LO). Lorillard closed slightly higher.
-Produced by Karina Huber.
What to Watch Thursday:
The Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
At 10 a.m., Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates, and the Commerce Department releases wholesale trade inventories for May.
These major companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial statements: