After five straight losing sessions, the Dow is on a two-day winning streak including a sizable gain today. Here's how the major indexes did.


Gain (Loss)

% Change

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) +181.19 +1.41% 12,986.58
Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC) +39.09 +1.30% 3,055.55
S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) +18.86 +1.38% 1,387.57

On the global economic front, there were apparently some rumors in the market for stronger-than-previously expected growth figures out of China (reporting well after market close at 10 p.m. ET). And European bond yields fell a bit.

But what I prefer to look at are the individual earnings reports coming out as we kick into earnings season this week. So far, so good. Alcoa started us off on Tuesday with a positive surprise. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) didn't report today, but its shares were boosted by 7.2% on favorable PC shipment reports from Gartner and IDC. HP almost doubled the industry, growing sales by 3.5% versus around 2% for the industry. Good news for tech and great news for HP.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) added to the tech positivity today after market close. It was up 2.4% on expectations and then up a smidge more in after-hours trading (0.08% at 8:00 p.m. ET).

Google slightly missed on the top line ($8.1 billion versus an expected $8.2 billion) but beat on the bottom line ($10.08 per share versus $9.65, both on an adjusted basis). It saw increased volume growth of 39% in its advertising cash cow but at a 12% lower cost per click. There is debate on whether this is a sign of weakness or merely a mix shift.

That said, Google's earnings were overshadowed by its announcement of an unorthodox 2:1 stock split. The mechanism is a stock dividend that will issue non-voting shares, so that Google's founders can maintain control as they currently do under a dual-class structure. Basically, the non-voting shares will allow Google to stave off "dilution from routine equity-based employee compensation and other possible dilution, such as stock-based acquisitions."Cynics will say this move is a corporate governance no-no. Believers in the long-term vision of Larry Page and Sergey Brin may argue that it allows them to maintain their long-term strategies for the company.    

Google's earnings did not disappoint, but will Apple's? We preview what to look for from Apple and four other must-watch companies in "5 Stocks Investors Need to Watch This Earnings Season." Get access now.