On The Fly: Top stock stories for Friday
Stocks began the day mixed and remained that way throughout the session. Investors were inundated with data from both corporate earnings and economic reports and while they spent the day sifting through it, the market drifted. Oil prices remained under pressure but rallied late in the day to close higher. Despite today's small bounce back, the price of U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude ended the month of July about 15% lower and hovering near $41 per barrel. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., gross domestic product grew at only a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.2% in the second quarter, well below the 2.6% growth economists had forecast. The Chicago PMI Business Barometer Index came in at 55.8, better than the 54.0 reading expected. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment survey fell to 90.0 in the final read for July, down from June's 93.5 reading. Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. rig count was up 1 rig from last week to 463 rigs, keeping up a recent trend of rig additions. In Asia, the Bank of Japan said it would double its ETF asset purchase target to Y6T from Y3.3T but left unchanged its other policy tools, including the monetary base target and the deposit rate. COMPANY NEWS: Class A shares of Alphabet (GOOGL) advanced 3.33% to $791.34 after Google's parent company announced better-than-expected second quarter results, which sparked several price target hikes from Wall Street analysts. Similarly, Amazon (AMZN) shares rose 0.82% to $758.81 after the e-commerce and cloud giant posted its third consecutive record profit... Earnings at Exxon Mobil (XOM) missed expectations, sending the stock down 1.39% to $88.95. For the weak results, the oil major blamed sharply lower commodity prices, weaker refining margins and the "volatile industry environment." Chevron (CVX), which surprised with a quarterly loss due to $2.8B in impairments and charges on assets where revenue from expected production is expected to be insufficient to recover costs, managed to finish with a small gain of 0.68%, closing at $102.48... Merck (MRK) reported better than expected quarterly profits and raised the bottom end of its full-year earnings range, while pharmaceutical industry peer AbbVie (ABBV) posted better than expected sales and profits and raised its fiscal year outlook. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Newell Brands (NWL), which gained 6.22% after reporting quarterly results. Additionally, Molson Coors (TAP) rose about 4.5% after SABMiller's (SBMRY) board announced it intends to recommend unanimously the revised and final offer announced by Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD). As part of the brewing giants' deal, Molson Coors will acquire SABMiller's stake in their MillerCoors joint venture. Among the noteworthy losers was Seres Therapeutics (MCRB), which plunged 2.04% after the company announced a clinical study of SER-109 for the prevention of multiply recurrent C.difficile infection did not achieve its primary endpoint. Also lower was Stericycle (SRCL), which slipped 14.78% after the company reported inline results, but gave an earnings outlook that was well below consensus. Also falling after their quarterly reports were Western Digital (WDC) and Cigna (CI), which dropped 11.53% and 5.13%, respectively. INDEXES: The Dow fell 24.11, or 0.13%, to 18,432.24, the Nasdaq gained 7.15, or 0.14%, to 5,162.13, and the S&P 500 added 3.54, or 0.16%, to 2,173.60.