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Stock Market News For July 31, 2017

The Dow outperformed the two other benchmarks to close at a record high riding on a rally in shares of Chevron. Amazon’s disappointing second quarter results weighed on both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.The FDA’s decision to cut nicotine content in cigarettes weighed on the shares of tobacco maker Altria Group, which in turn dragged the S&P 500 lower Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s failure to repeal Obamacare also weighed down broader markets, following concerns about its ability to push through crucial policy changes. Meanwhile, second quarter GDP came in below expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) touched all-time intraday high and rose 0.2% or 33.76 points, closing at 21,830.31. The S&P 500 Index (INX) declined 0.1%, dwindling 3.32 points to close at 2,472.10. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index (IXIC) closed at 6,374.68, declining 45 points or 0.2%. A total of around 6.1 billion shares were traded on Monday, above the last 20-session average of 6.0 billion shares. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.16-to-1 ratio .On the Nasdaq, a 1.17-to-1 ratio favored declining issues.

Dow Breaches Record, Recovers from 40-Point Decline

The Dow matched an all-time intraday high on Friday, closing at a record level of 21,830.31. The blue-chip index was boosted by splendid earnings from Chevron Corp. CVX . This enabled the Dow to recover from the 40 point decline it suffered earlier in the session. U.S. energy giant Chevron Corp. reported strong second-quarter results amid the recovery in commodity prices, production gains and the success of its cost savings initiatives. The company reported earnings per share (excluding special items) of 91 cents, higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 89 cents and the year-ago profit of 48 cents. These helped shares of the oil giant gain an impressive 1.9%. (Read More: Chevron Q2 Earnings Beat on Oil Rally, Output Rise).

On the other hand, Exxon Mobil XOM posted a dismal performance, losing1.5%. Energy giant Exxon Mobil Corporation posted an earnings miss in second-quarter 2017 owing to a decline in liquid volumes and lower margin from chemical businesses. This was partially offset by increased price realizations from liquids and gas and improved refinery volumes. The company reported earnings of 78 cents per share, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 83 cents. However, the bottom line improved from the year-ago quarter level of 41 cents. (Read More: Exxon Mobil Q2 Earnings Miss on Lower Volumes). However, Exxon’s losses were negated by Chevron’s excellent earnings performance and the blue-chip index posted a weekly gain.

Amazon Posts Disappointing Earnings Amidst Speculations On Overvaluation AMZN posted dismal earnings in the second quarter. Its second-quarter 2017 earnings per share (EPS) of 40 cents missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.40. (Read More: Amazon Q2 Earnings Hurt by Higher Spending, AWS Solid). Amazon’s dismal performance led to losses for both the Dow and the S&P 500.

Investors have been worried regarding the now familiar overvaluation of tech stocks as they fear a potential market crash and cautious investors have started taking profits off the table. This has affected the broader market and has pulled down the Nasdaq composite which closed at 6,374.68, declining 0.1%. The earnings season continues as Apple Inc. AAPL is expected to report this week.

FDA Announces a Cut In Nicotine Content, S&P 500 Slips

The S&P 500 finished 3.32 points lower, closing at 2,472.10. Although, the index recovered from its early 10- point deficit, it still closed the day 0.1% lower. Apart from Amazon’s dismal earnings, the Food and Drug Administration’s call to reduce the nicotine content in cigarettes hurt investor sentiment. The Select Consumer Staples SPDR (XLP) declined 0.8%, emerging as the worst performer out of eleven sectors of the S&P. Eight of the eleven sectors of the S&P ended in negative territory. The FDA’s decision also had negative ramifications for tobacco maker Altria Group Inc. MO as its shares slid 9.5%.

On a broader scale, disappointing earnings from Amazon, Starbucks SBUX and Exxon Mobil also dented investor sentiment. Starbucks met analysts’ expectations on earnings, but failed to meet the same on revenues in third-quarter fiscal 2017 results. Revenues missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5.74 billion by 1.4%. (Read More: Starbucks (SBUX) Q3 Earnings in Line, Signals Soft US Market)

Trump’s Failure to Repeal Obamacare Dampens Investor Sentiment

The Trump –led Republican Government has failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act yet again. This has dampened investor sentiment with market watchers losing their faith in the promises made by President Trump in the run up to the presidential elections. Trump's failure to keep his campaign trail promises has made investors doubtful of his ability to bring about tax reforms and increasing spending on infrastructural growth among other items on his pro-growth agenda. These concerns also contributed toward losses for the broader markets.

Economic Data

The gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual rate of 2.6% in the second quarter which came in lower than the expected rate of 2.8%. This was 1.2% higher than the first quarter. Consumer spending remained the major engine of growth. Personal consumption rose 2.8%, up from 1.1% in the first quarter. This was buoyed by a vibrant labor market which also meant increased spending in new homes.

Weekly Results

For the week, the Dow gained 1.2% whereas the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 fell 0.2% and 0.1% respectively. The Dow’s great run has been supported by excellent earnings for the week. The companies which reported better-than-expected earnings were AT&T T, McDonalds MCD, Boeing B, Verizon VZ, Facebook FB and Caterpillar CAT.

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 turned in mixed performances over the week. Despite splendid earnings from Facebook and the tech rally, disappointing performance from Amazon and the swoon in the shares of Apple, led the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to close in the red. Moreover, a slump in healthcare sector also weighed on the S&P 500.

Stocks That Made Headlines

Telefonica Q2 Earnings Up Y/Y, Revenues Lag Estimates

Spanish telecom giant, Telefonica S.A. TEF, reported mixed financial results in the second quarter of 2017. (Read More)

NuStar Energy Q2 Earnings, Revenues Miss Estimates

San Antonio-based publicly traded partnership NuStar Energy L.P. NS reported second-quarter earnings per limited partner unit which was way off the Zacks Consensus Estimate. (Read More)

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