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Stock Market Today: Stocks Finish Mixed Ahead of Fed

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·3 min read
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stock chart
stock chart Getty Images

Stocks were on track to stage a modest bounce in the wake of Monday's drubbing as bargain hunters swooped in to buy the dip.

A solid reading on August housing starts and building permits – which rose at higher-than-expected sequential rates of 3.9% and 6%, respectively – only lifted the collective mood on Wall Street for most of the day.

The Nasdaq Composite held onto its gains through session's end, adding 0.2% to 14,746. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.2% to 33,919) and S&P 500 Index (-0.1% to 4,354) weren't so resilient, slipping into negative territory by the close.

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In focus tomorrow: the Fed's latest policy announcement.

Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO and chief strategist of Dallas-based Quill Intelligence, isn't expecting a taper announcement just yet considering there are several "unresolved issues" in Washington D.C. at the moment. "Between the debt ceiling, budget resolution and potential for a government shutdown, there are plenty of political reasons for the Fed to not change policy," she says.

Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 added 0.2% to 2,186.

  • Walt Disney (DIS) was the worst Dow stock today, shedding 4.2%. This came after the entertainment giant's CEO Bob Chapek warned of slowing Disney+ subscriber growth in the fiscal fourth quarter, which ends on Sept. 30. Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, Chapek said he sees paid subscribers growing in the "low single-digit millions." For the sake of comparison, DIS added 12.4 million net new Disney+ subscribers in its fiscal third quarter.

  • Uber Technologies (UBER, +11.5%) was a notable gainer after the ride-hailing firm boosted its third-quarter guidance. For the three-month period, UBER now expects gross bookings to land between $22.8 billion and $23.2 billion – up from its prior forecast of $22 billion to $24 billion. Additionally, adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) is projected to range from a $25 million loss to a $25 million profit. The previous estimate was for Q3 adjusted EBITDA to arrive somewhere ahead of a $100 million loss. CFRA analyst Angelo Zino maintained his Strong Buy rating on the stock after the update, noting "this partly reflects an improving supply driver network, which will allow UBER to taper investments."

  • U.S. crude oil futures rose 0.4% to settle at $70.56 per barrel.

  • Gold futures gained 0.8% to finish at $1,778.20 an ounce.

  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) fell 5.3% to 24.36.

  • Bitcoin retreated 4.1% to $42,014.08. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

stock price chart 092121
stock price chart 092121

YCharts

"Stay Calm and Carry On"

Should U.S. investors add Evergrande (EGRNY, -11.7%) to their growing list of worries? Not at the moment, says Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network.

Yes, a debt default from the Shenzhen-based real estate developer could disrupt Chinese markets, but it would likely have a minor impact on U.S. investors. Instead, Monday's drop represents "normal behavior for markets on bad news" and was a "rational response to real, but contained risk," McMillan says.

So while it's prudent to pay attention to the news, he advises investors "keep calm and carry on."

One way to stay the course is with the market's blue-chip stocks. A number of these names can help guard against volatility-inducing headlines by providing reliability and stability over a long-term horizon – with many offering a healthy and growing dividend to boot.

Certainly there are some Dow Jones stocks that are more attractive than others right now, and we've taken a fresh look to see how Wall Street analysts rate the 30 blue chips. Here's what the pros have to say.

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