Markets

Nasdaq closes flat at its 2022 low as a comeback attempt Wednesday fails

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The Nasdaq Composite closed at its low of 2022, a day after its worst daily loss since 2020, as stocks attempted to rebound from a technology-led sell-off in April.

The tech-heavy index finished little changed at 12,488.93, after being up 1.7% at its highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 61.75 points, or 0.2%, to 33,301.93. The S&P 500 advanced 0.2% to 4,183.96.

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The major averages struggled for direction Wednesday, swinging between gains and losses.

"We're trying to find a place of stability," Kari Firestone, chairman and CEO of Aureus Asset Management, said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "We need to see a few more names come in with really strong, reliable and sustainable earnings so investors can get back on board."

Corporate earnings were in focus as investors digested quarterly results from mega-cap names.

Microsoft rose 4.8%, providing support to the major averages, after strong earnings results. The company posted a better-than-expected quarterly report and issued optimistic forward revenue guidance.

Visa also added nearly 6.5%, the top gainer on the Dow, after the company's quarterly results topped analyst estimates on the top and bottom lines. Solar company Enphase Energy surged 7.7% and was the biggest winner on the S&P 500 after an earnings beat.

On the downside, Google parent Alphabet fell 3.6% after the tech giant's earnings results missed consensus estimates. Management warned on the conference call of another potentially weak quarter ahead.

Boeing also saw shares drop 7.5% after an earnings miss, making it the biggest laggard on the Dow.

Investors also looked at other Big Tech names ahead of reports. Facebook parent Meta was set to report earnings Wednesday after the bell, while Apple and Amazon were slated to report earnings Thursday. Meta on Wednesday fell 3.3%, and Apple and Amazon were both lower.

Investors are watching to see if tech companies' results prove the intense selling in April has been misplaced.

"We remain cautious on rallies here," BTIG's Jonathan Krinsky said in a note to clients. "There still hasn't been a full-scale washout, in our view, and trends remain to the downside. This means small rallies don't do much other than alleviate short-term oversold conditions."

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite is in bear market territory, roughly 23% below its high. The S&P 500 is 13.2% off its record and sits below a key support level of 4200.

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In April, the S&P 500 is down 7.7%. The Nasdaq has lost 12.2%. The Dow has declined around nearly 4%.

"The confluence of persistent inflation, Fed tightening, the war in Ukraine, and China's zero-Covid policy lockdowns has manifested in tenacious headwinds for investors in April," Art Hogan, National Securities chief market strategist, said.