The stock market stopped its bleeding Tuesday, for at least a day. But there was no single obvious reason for the modest rebound, other than the fact the market was due for one after the recent spate of heavy selling days.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 72 points, but the blue chip index is still down more than one thousand points so far this year. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 13 points and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 34.
Leading the Dow's advance, DuPont (DD), 3M (MMM), Merck (MRK) and Pfizer (PFE) all gained more than 2 percent. Pfizer was upgraded to a 'buy' from 'neutral' by Jeffries.
But some struggling retailers struggled some more. Radio Shack (RSH) lost 5 percent on reports that it plans to close as many as 500 stores. So much for its bounce from having one of the most popular Super Bowl ads. J.C. Penney (JCP) fell 10 percent. Its holiday sales were actually better than expected, but investors were unnerved because the company did not say anything about its earnings or profit margin. Sears (SHLD) lost 3½ percent.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Earnings was another big theme. Apparel and footwear designer Michael Kors (KORS) surged 17 percent. Its earnings easily topped expectations and the company issued a strong outlook. Yum Brands (YUM) jumped 9 percent. Its net also beat, as it starts to recover from food-safety problems at its KFC operations in China -– which is now the company's biggest market. But Dun & Bradstreet (DNB) fell 10 percent after posting disappointing quarterly results.
And not much fun for video game maker Take Two Interactive (TTWO). Sales of "Grand Theft Auto V" were strong, but the stock got run over by a disappointing forecast for the current quarter. Its shares fell 10 percent.
Elsewhere, Facebook (FB) celebrated its 10th birthday by gaining 2 percent, and the stock moved to its highest level since the company went public nearly two years ago.
And Furiex Pharmaceuticals (FURX) soared 128 percent after reporting positive results in two key clinical trials of its treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
What to Watch Wednesday:
Payroll processor ADP releases its survey of private sector hiring for January at 8:15 a.m. Eastern time.
The Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for January at 10 a.m.
These major companies are due to report quarterly financial results:
Automatic Data Processing (ADP)
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR)
Pandora Media (P)
Prudential Financial (PRU)
Ralph Lauren (RL)
Time Warner (TWX)
Walt Disney (DIS)
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.