Stronger than expected earnings from two giant consumer products companies, Coca-Cola (KO) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), lifted the Dow to modest gains during a volatile trading session Tuesday.
The Dow Industrials (^DJI) gained 89 points, the S&P 500 (^GPSC) rose 12 points, and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) added 11 points.
Shares of Coke jumped nearly 4 percent. Global soda sales fell for the first time in a decade, but that was more than offset by strong sales on non-carbonated drinks. The U.S. market now accounts for less than 20 percent of total sales.
Johnson & Johnson gained 2 percent. Its net topped expectations and the company raised its outlook for the year.
The Nasdaq went on a wild ride Tuesday. It had been down nearly 2 percent before turning around in the afternoon. Electric carmaker Tesla (TSLA) fell 2 percent. It's now trading below $200 a share, down from $265 in late February. That's a drop of 27 percent in just seven weeks.
Among Internet and social media leaders: Netflix (NFLX) lost 1.5 percent. It's now lost 28 percent of its value since peaking in early March. Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN) and Google (GOOG) all edged higher. But Twitter (TWTR) jumped 11 percent and TripAdvisor (TRIP) rose more than 4 percent. Apple (AAPL) continues to lose ground, falling nearly 1 percent.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Biotechs had a relatively healthy day. Amgen (AMGN) added 1.5 percent and Repligen (RGEN) rose 5 percent, but Isis Pharmaceutical (ISIS) fell 1 percent.
Earnings will be a major driver of the market for the next few weeks.
Pep Boys (PBY) fell 15 percent as its loss widened. But Schwab (SCHW) gained 3 percent as its net topped expectations. Elsewhere, Zebra Technologies (ZBRA) fell 10 percent after it agreed to pay $3.5 billion for a unit of Motorola Solutions. Best Buy (BBY) lost nearly 3 percent as a key executive retired.
And casino operators are on a bad roll. Wynn Resorts (WYNN) fell 3.5 percent and Las Vegas Sands (LVS) lost 2 percent.
What to Watch Wednesday:
The Mortgage Bankers Association releases weekly mortgage applications at 7 a.m. Eastern time.
The Commerce Department reports housing starts for March at 8:30 a.m.
The Federal Reserve reports industrial production for March at 9:15 a.m.
The Federal Reserve releases its survey of regional economic conditions, known as the Beige Book, at 2 p.m.
These major companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial statements:
After Market: Coke Gets Fizzy, J&J Cleans Up and Stocks Rise
The 1099 forms you received from brokerages and other financial institutions might not be the last ones they send. It's common for them to issue corrected versions a little later. Consider getting your tax return ready to go, then waiting until close to April 15 before submitting it. That way, you can incorporate any last-minute changes and avoid having to file an amended return.
Pay attention to when you sell any holding, because the capital gains tax rates differ for long-term and short-term holdings. Short-term capital gains are taxed at your ordinary income tax rate, which could top 30 percent. Long-term gains (those held for more than a year) get preferential rates, which are zero percent for those in low-income brackets and 15 percent for most of us.
If you own underwater stocks, consider selling them for a loss. You can use those losses to offset gains from other sales, reducing your taxes owed. You can always buy back the asset later, if you still believe in it -- just be sure to wait for 31 days to pass, to observe the "wash sale rule."
If you're planning to sell one or more holdings that will give you a really big gain, submit an amended W-4 form to increase your withholding, or send the IRS an estimated tax payment. Underpaying your taxes significantly during the year can lead to a penalty at tax time. You may be protected by a "safe harbor" provision, though, which can save you from having to jump through those hoops.
If you're planning to buy shares of a mutual fund, determine when it will distribute its dividends. Many funds do so near the end of the year, and when that happens, the fund's share price will drop by the amount of the distribution -- which is taxable to shareholders. It's better to just wait until after that payout to buy in.
Mutual funds with high turnover ratios (reflecting a lot of buying and selling in a fund) have expenses for these trades. It's worth favoring funds with low turnover ratios, especially index funds and index-tracking ETFs, which simply hold onto the mix of securities in a given index, without a lot of trading activity. (Index funds generally outperform their higher-turnover counterparts, too.)
Boost the power of your Individual Retirement Accounts by making your annual contributions early in the year, giving the funds more time to grow. Over decades, it can make a significant difference.