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Corporate earnings remain at the center of Wall Street.

Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Stocks did their best to rebound on Wednesday from the jitters of an economic slowdown, but failed to pull off the feat. They managed to simply hold the line.

the


Dow Jones Industrial Average

closed 62 points, or 0.2%, higher and the


S&P500

increased by 0.2%. the


Nasdaq Compound

finished dish. Everything had been solidly in the green earlier in the day.

Indices fell more than 2% on Tuesday on what appeared to worry Big Tech revenues and China’s zero-Covid policy, which has triggered lockdowns as case numbers rise. These blockages could exacerbate supply chain issues just as they were slowly starting to improve, or at least ease a little.

“China relaxation” was the phrase Andrew Brenner of NatAlliance Securities used when he noted that the stock market was rebounding.

Consistent with that line of thinking, investors dumped safe government bonds, a reversal from Tuesday. The price of 10-year Treasury notes fell, pushing the yield up to 2.83% from 2.73%.

Wednesday’s improved mood wasn’t necessarily a surprise; Tuesday’s stock selloff landed the S&P 500 at a level – just over 4,170 – that has attracted buyers this year. Now the index is trying to rebound.

If the market is adamant that 4,170 should mark a true low for the S&P 500, that means investors aren’t necessarily growing increasingly worried about current economic risks.

“As the market declines [overall]we are likely approaching a bottom,” wrote Ryan Belanger, chief executive and founder of Claro Advisors, a Boston-based wealth management firm.

But the stock market is not completely buoyant right now. Wednesday’s moves in the indices didn’t look like a complete reversal. They are still below their Monday closing levels ahead of the Tuesday selloff. As for the SP 500, only 57% of stocks were in the green after 90% of them fell on Tuesday.

The fact is that there is still great uncertainty surrounding the global economy. With the S&P 500 down nearly 10% from the March 29 multi-month high, “the charts are broken…and until we have more clarity on China, Europe and the US. [economic growth] downturn, the market faces headwinds,” said Dennis DeBusschere, founder of 22VResearch.

Above all, the company’s fundamentals were strong in the first quarter. Overall earnings per share for S&P 500 companies beat the estimate by nearly 7%, according to Credit Suisse data. Granted, that didn’t exactly do wonders for the stock market, as the average stock move for the day after earnings remained essentially unchanged.

Earnings may soon take over Federal Reserve policy, and markets will be particularly focused on inflation data released on Friday. The core personal consumption expenditure index, which does not include food and energy prices and is the Fed’s inflation benchmark of choice, is expected to have risen 5.3%, below from the last reading of 5.4%. If inflation has peaked, the Federal Reserve could potentially slow its interest rate hikes at some point, which the stock market would welcome. Right now, these expected rate hikes are putting pressure on market expectations for future earnings.

Overseas, the pan-European


Stoxx 600

was 0.7% higher, and that of Tokyo


Nikki 225

fell 1.2% as Asian stocks largely followed Wall Street’s selloff on Tuesday.

Six actions in motion:


Spotify

(ticker: SPOT) fell 13% even after the streaming platform saw a surge in users during the first quarter, with monthly active users up 19% to 422 million. Weaker-than-expected forecasts weighed on the stock.


Mattel

(MAT) jumped 11% after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Hot Wheels and Barbie model car maker is in talks with takeover companies about a potential sale.


Microsoft

(MSFT) and


Alphabet
it is

(GOOGL) fortunes diverged, the former up 4.8% and the latter down 3.7% after the two companies reported earnings on Tuesday evening. Microsoft released better-than-expected guidance for the fiscal fourth quarter, while Alphabet posted first-quarter sales that beat analysts’ expectations.


General Engines

(GM) fell 1.6% after the company reported earnings of $2.09 per share, beating estimates of $1.68 per share, on sales of $35.98 billion, below expectations of $37 billion.


Harley-Davidson

(HOG) fell 0.3% after reporting earnings of $1.45 per share, as estimated, on sales of $1.5 billion, above expectations of $1.3 billion .

Write to Jack Denton at jack.denton@dowjones.com and Jacob Sonenshine at jacob.sonenshine@barrons.com