U.S. stocks traded higher Tuesday as markets looked to pare steep October losses in volatile trading.
The S&P 500 gained 0.65 percent as gains in real estate, communications and materials stocks carried the index out of correction territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 100 points as Goldman Sachs, McDonald's and Boeing all outperformed.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.6 percent as gains in Intel and Comcast offset losses in Amazon and Netflix. Stocks closed lower in the prior session, giving up sharp gains in a turbulent session that saw the Dow travel more than 900 points.
Market participants cited the possibility of more U.S.-China tariffs, a drop in tech stocks and worries over higher interest rates for the decline.
The Dow is down 6.9 percent this month, its worst performance since May 2010. The S&P 500 is off by 8.7 percent in October, its worst month since February 2009. On Monday, the S&P 500 closed in correction territory, down 10.2 percent from its record.
"Obviously we're in a correction phase of the stock market and I think investors have to realize that," said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Baird. "The monetary environment has changed. As you can see, even with a 10 percent change in the stock markets, interest rates have barely moved lower."
"Typically bull markets are global in scope and the question was: would we follow the rest of the world, or would they follow us? I think we've found the answer," Bittles added.
Even with the most recent sell-off, U.S. stocks have generally outperformed overseas indexes throughout 2018. The Stoxx Europe 600, which was little changed Tuesday, is down more than 8 percent for the year. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite has fallen more than 24 percent since January. The Chinese index rose 1 percent Tuesday.
Despite the largely bearish tone in October, it is not uncommon for the stock market to end bad months with a bounce. Since 1952, when the S&P 500 was down 8 percent or more with two trading days left in a month, the benchmark bounced higher 80 percent of the time in those final two days, with an average gain of 2.75 percent, according to Bespoke Investment Group.
"If we can get through the week without too many setbacks, then investors may begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel and sense opportunities in the markets, rather than view it with anxiety and fear which has certainly been the case in recent weeks," Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note.
Coca-Cola reported third-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street estimates, pushing shares up 1.6 percent. Sales of diet soda and higher prices helped the company top earnings and revenue projections for the quarter, boosting profit by 30 percent.
General Electric shares dropped 7.6 percent after the company disclosed that the Securities and Exchange Commission is expanding its probe into the company's accounting practices. Shares were higher earlier when GE said it would slash its quarterly dividend to just a penny a share, a bold move investors took to mean new CEO Larry Culp would take dramatic action to turn around the fallen blue chip.
On Monday evening, President Donald Trump told Fox News Channel that he thinks the U.S. will make a "great" trade deal with China, helping market sentiment somewhat. This follows a Bloomberg News report on Monday that suggested the U.S. could be preparing to announce tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports by early December if talks between Trump and China President Xi Jinping breakdown next month.
Apple unveiled a host of new iPad and Mac computer generations at its annual Brooklyn launch event on Tuesday. The iPhone maker, which will report earnings on Thursday, said the latest iPads will eliminate the home button and include Apple's facial recognition technology that was introduced last year.
In economic news, an index of consumer confidence rose to a print of 137.9 this month, driven primarily by a hot labor market and expectations that economic growth will remain solid in the near term. The Conference Board's latest reading is the highest level since September 2000; economists polled by Reuters had expected the index to slip to 136.
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