The S&P 500 closed out the day on Friday in negative territory in response to earnings reports from high-profile names such as Amazon, Exxon and Starbucks and a drop in the shares of tobacco companies. None the less, the S&P 500 is trading at about 18 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months above its long-term average of 15 times.
Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to set a new high, buoyed by Chevron after the energy company’s results.
Despite Friday’s share reactions, results overall have come in better than expected for the second quarter and stocks are trading near record highs. We are now more than halfway through the current earnings reporting season and the companies making up the S&P 500 are on track to increase earnings by 10.8 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
In addition, the latest economic data showed that the economy accelerated in the second quarter as consumers ramped up spending and businesses invested more on equipment.
Amazon fell 2.5 percent after the company reported an increase in retail sales along with a profit slump.
Altria fell 9.5 percent. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it wants to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes and move smokers toward potentially less harmful e-cigarettes.
Altria, which makes Marlboro brand cigarettes, was the largest drag on the S&P 500 and weighed heavily on the consumer staples, which was the worst-performing group. Shares of British American Tobacco fell 7.0 percent.
Exxon ended the day down 1.5 percent after a rare earnings miss, while shares of rival oil major Chevron climbed 1.9 percent after its results.
Starbucks fell 9.2 percent and Mattel was down 7.8 percent after their respective reports.
The healthcare sector was the best-performing sector, rising 0.5 percent.
Approximately 6.1 billion shares changed hands on the major equity exchanges, roughly in line with the 6-billion share average over the last 20 sessions.
Economy Expands in 2nd Quarter
The economy accelerated in the second quarter as consumers increased their spending and businesses invested more in equipment. At the same time, persistent sluggish wage gains cast a dark shadow over the growth outlook.
Gross domestic product increased at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the April-June period, which included a boost from trade, the Commerce Department said in its advance estimate on Friday. That was more than double revised 1.2 percent first quarter rate of growth.
Wage growth, however, decelerated despite an unemployment rate that averaged 4.4 percent in the second quarter. Inflation also retreated, appearing to weaken the case for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates again this year.
The rise in second-quarter GDP was in line with Street expectations. Output was previously reported to have increased at a 1.4 percent pace in the first quarter.
The economy grew 1.9 percent in the first half of 2017, making it unlikely that GDP would top 2.5 percent for the full year.
A resurgence in consumer spending accounted for much of the growth. Consumer spending, which makes up more than two-thirds of the economy, grew at a 2.8 percent rate. That was an acceleration from the 1.9 percent pace logged in the first quarter.
However, with wage growth remaining sluggish despite the labor market being near full employment, there are concerns that consumer spending could slow in the third quarter.
In a separate report on Friday, the Labor Department said wages and salaries increased 0.5. percent in the April-June period after accelerating 0.8 percent in the first quarter.
They rose 2.3 percent on a year-on-year basis. There were, however, strong wage gains in the information, finance and natural resources sectors.
Inflation was subdued in the second quarter. The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index excluding food and energy, increased at a 0.9 percent rate. That was the slowest rate of increase in more than two years and followed a 1.8 percent rate of increase in the first quarter.
The gross domestic purchases price index, another measure of inflation pressures in the economy, increased at a 0.8 percent rate after advancing 2.6 percent in the prior quarter.
Businesses helped to carry the economy in the second quarter, with spending on equipment jumping at a rate of 8.2 percent, the fastest in nearly two years. It was the third straight quarterly increase.
Spending on mining exploration, wells and shafts grew at a 116.7 percent rate, slowing from the first-quarter’s robust 272.1 percent pace. As a result, investment on nonresidential structures increased at a 4.9 percent pace, moderating from the January-March period’s brisk 14.8 percent rate.
Though businesses continued to carefully manage their inventories in the second quarter, they spent more in some places. Inventory investment was neutral to GDP growth after slicing 1.46 percentage points in the first quarter.
Trade added 0.18 percentage point to growth, contributing to output for a second straight quarter.
Housing was a drag on growth in the last quarter, with investment on homebuilding contracting at a 6.8 percent rate, the worst performance in nearly seven years. Auto production slumped for a third straight quarter, while government spending rebounded after declining in the prior period.
Alongside the second-quarter GDP report, the government published revisions to data going back to 2014, which showed little change in the growth picture.