U.S. stocks moved higher on Tuesday as strength in bank and industrials stocks outweighed the travel names held back by Covid fears.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped about 173 points, or 0.5%, almost halfway through the trading day, after briefly falling more than 100 points earlier in the session. The S&P 500 gained 0.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite was higher by 0.2%. The Dow sits about 0.5% from a record.

The 10-year Treasury yield stabilized on Tuesday after falling back to near five-month lows on Monday. As yields rebounded from their decline midday back to the unchanged mark, stocks edged higher.

Tuesday’s move for stocks served as something of a mirror image to Monday’s market action, which saw a late-day slump drag the Dow and S&P 500 into the red while the tech-heavy Nasdaq held on to a meager gain.

That sort of day-to-day volatility is to be expected after the strong run for stocks since spring of last year, said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research.

“Everyone knows that valuations are fairly high. The S&P 500 is up nearly 100% since the March low of last year. … So the market tends to be a little skittish to any kind of news right now,” Frederick said. “My outlook for most of Q3 has been that I’ve been expecting the market to be mostly sideways with slightly elevated volatility.”

On Monday, the Dow was boosted by stocks tied to the economic recovery, including banks, Caterpillar and 3M. Health care stocks like Amgen and Johnson & Johnson outperformed as well.

On the other hand, shares of companies that would be hit hardest by potential new health restrictions, including airlines and cruise lines, fell on Tuesday, limiting upside for the market.

The spread of the delta coronavirus variant continued to cloud the outlook for the economy. The seven-day average of daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. reached 72,790 on Friday, surpassing the peak seen last summer when the nation didn’t have an authorized Covid-19 vaccine, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, on the positive side the U.S. reached the 70% Covid vaccine milestone, according to the CDC.

“The delta variant of the virus is now rapidly spreading in the U.S. and a modest pullback in activity can’t be ruled out,” Solita Marcelli, CIO Americas at UBS, said in a note. “But any potential slowdown should be somewhat muted.”

Oil stocks moved higher as well, even as the price of West Texas Intermediate crude drifted down to about $70 per barrel. Adam Karpf, a managing director at CIBC Private Wealth focused on energy, said the move in oil was due more to trading patterns than the delta variant taking a major bite out of global growth.

“Assuming that this will be kept under control … we’ve had several months and weeks of a strong crude oil market and energy industry, and this is a breather,” Karpf said.

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Source: NYSE

Meanwhile, the second-quarter earnings season continues with Under Armour shares rose nearly 7% after the company beat estimates on the top and bottom lines. However, Clorox’s stock fell 10% after a disappointing report.

Shares of Simon Property jumped more than 2% after the mall owner said sales bounced back to pre-pandemic levels, up 80% from a year ago. It also reported a relatively high occupancy rate.

Through Friday, 88% of S&P 500 companies had reported a positive earnings surprise for the second quarter, which will mark the highest percentage since FactSet began tracking this metric in 2008.

Investors are closely monitoring progress in Washington as lawmakers move toward a bipartisan infrastructure bill that would devote $550 billion to U.S. infrastructure. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer aims to rush the 2,702-page legislation through the chamber before a planned monthlong recess starting Aug. 9.