The Nasdaq closed at a record for the third session in a row as volatility held at its lowest level in more than two decades.
The Nasdaq gained 0.29% to a record of 6,120.59. The S&P 500 was down 0.11%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.18%.
Jim Cramer laid out the powerful themes driving this bull market over on our premium site Real Money. Get his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Volatility held at its lowest level in more than two decades on Tuesday. The Volatility Index, often referred to as the fear index, was trading at 9.84, its lowest since late 1993. The S&P 500 has fallen or risen by 1% or more only three times since the beginning of the year. The benchmark index has averaged 4.25 days of swings of more than 1% every month since 1950, according to CFRA.
"U.S. equity market volatility should begin to rise (at least modesty) in the coming weeks," said Nicholas Cage, chief market strategist at Convergex. "We should be at the trough of [a low-volatility cycle] right now... That should cause a pullback in stocks, but it does not portend a subsequent meltdown (or melt-up, for that matter)."
Over at Real Money, TheStreet's premium site for investors, Helene Meisler said to pay no mind to this environment of low volatility. High volatility is the better indicator of a buying opportunity. Get her analysis with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Apple(AAPL) - Get Report traded in record territory on Tuesday a day after reaching a market cap of above $800 billion for the first time ever. The world's largest company reached as high as $801.37 billion in intraday trading on Monday. Its shares ended the day slightly higher, closing at $153.97
The labor market remained in good health in March, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The number of job openings came in at 5.743 million in March, higher than an expected 5.725 million.
Wholesale inventories showed an unexpected increase in March. The Commerce Department reported a 0.2% increase in inventories in March, far better than an expected decrease of 0.1%. Wholesale inventories increased 0.4% in February.
Focus returned to earnings on Tuesday. Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) rocketed 24% higher after topping first-quarter earnings expectations. The drugmaker swung to a profit of $1.79 a share following a loss of $1.08 a share in the year-ago quarter. Consensus was for profit of 87 cents a share. The company also increased its guidance for full-year adjusted Ebitda to at least $3.6 billion, up from a previous low-end of $3.55 billion.
SeaWorld(SEAS) - Get Report narrowed its quarterly loss even as revenue and attendance fell by double-digits. The waterpark operator reported a loss of 72 cents a share, narrower than a year-earlier loss of $1 a share, though missing estimates of a loss of 55 cents. Revenue and attendance fell 15%. SeaWorld said attendance was "largely impacted" by a later Easter that pushed the holiday into the second quarter this year.
Home goods and decor company Wayfair(W) - Get Report surged 20% after a narrower loss and higher sales than expected over its first quarter. Adjusted losses of 48 cents a share were narrower than a target of 56 cents a share. Wayfair also increased its market share in North America and Europe, though average order sizes dropped.
Discovery Communications(DISCA) - Get Report fell short of earnings estimates as a decline in subscribers offset gains in distribution and advertising revenue. The cable network operator earned an adjusted 41 cents a share, down a nickel from a year earlier and 4 cents below expectations. Quarterly revenue increased 3%, but fell below estimates. U.S. advertising revenue increased 1%, while distribution revenue rose 5%.
Pandora Media (P) fell 4% after confirming that it was considering its options, including a possible sale. Separately, the music-streaming service reported a wider first-quarter loss than a year earlier. An adjusted loss of 24 cents a share came in narrower than an anticipated loss of 33 cents. Total subscribers increased to 4.7 million from 3.9 million a year earlier.
Allergan(AGN) - Get Report slipped even as sales of Botox helped push earnings and sales above Wall Street estimates. Adjusted profit of $3.35 a share came in 4 cents above estimates, while revenue of $3.57 billion exceeded consensus of $3.53 billion. The drugmaker anticipates full-year adjusted earnings between $15.85 and $16.35 a share, meeting analysts' target of $16.03.
Dean Foods(DF) - Get Report swung to a loss in its first quarter, while adjusted earnings missed estimates. The dairy producer reported a loss of 11 cents a share compared to profit of 43 cents in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted earnings of 13 cents a share missed estimates by 4 cents. Sales of $1.99 billion came in $20 million above estimates.
Hertz(HTZ) - Get Report tumbled 14% after the car rental firm posted a first-quarter loss much wider than Wall Street forecasts. The company reported a net loss of $2.69 a share compared to a loss of 61 cents a share a year earlier. An adjusted net loss of $1.61 a share was far wider than analysts' target of a loss of 90 cents a share.
Other earnings of note include AMC Entertainment(AMC) - Get Report , CST Brands (CST) , US Foods(USFD) - Get Report , Plug Power(PLUG) - Get Report , Office Depot(ODP) - Get Report and Duke Energy(DUK) - Get Report .
Around 87% of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings so far this reporting season. So far, nearly 75% have exceeded profit estimates, above the historical average of 64%. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters anticipate first-quarter blended earnings growth of 14.5%.
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