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Equity markets regained their footing on Wednesday as bargain buyers swooped in following Tuesday's dismal sell-off. Stocks marched higher thanks to better-than-expected earnings from Alcoa (NYSE:AA) coupled with upbeat commentary from the latest Fed Beige Book report. The Nasdaq led the way higher on the home front, gaining 0.84% on the day, while the Dow Jones Industrial lagged behind a bit, clinching gains of 0.70% as the trading session drew to a close [see Free Report: How To Pick The Right ETF Every Time].

Corporate earnings season is off to a strong start with Alcoa kicking off the ceremonies on a high note. The aluminum behemoth surpassed expectations, posting a profit of 10 cents a share and stronger-than-expected revenue growth; the company further bolstered confidence after it forecast that global aluminum demand could grow by 7% this year [see also Commodity Guru ETFdb Portfolio]. Gold prices oscillated between minor gains and losses throughout the day as investors were quick to jump back into stocks; futures prices for the precious yellow metal drifted sideways, managing to settle near $1,660 an ounce as the trading session drew to a close.

The State Street SPDR Homebuilders ETF (NYSEARCA:XHB) was one of the best performers, gaining 2.86% on the day. After being one of the worst performing ETFs yesterday, XHB was able to stage an impressive rebound today, although it still closed below Monday's opening price. Despite still being in negative territory for the week, XHB is up close to 20% from a year-to-date performance perspective [see XHB Returns].

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The Barclays iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX) was one of the worst performers, shedding 2.24% on the day. Uncertainty seemingly evaporated from Wall Street today as positive earnings results took center stage. The latest Fed Beige Book helped bolster confidence as well; the report showed expansion in the manufacturing sector, increasing freight volume, and improving loan demand. The VIX Index settled right near the 20 mark as the trading session drew to a close [see also 3 ETFs For The End Of Operation Twist].

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

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Source: Daily ETF Roundup: XHB Rebounds, VXX Inches Lower