Wall Street fell from record highs on Thursday following a flurry of downbeat quarterly results from Ford Motor and other companies and after European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi’s comments disappointed investors hoping for a more dovish stance on monetary policy.
The ECB signaled its intention to explore monetary easing but did not cut interest rates, and President Mario Draghi sounded more upbeat on the economy than investors expected.
Ford Motor fell 7.45% after the company reported a lower-than-expected profit and gave a disappointing full-year earnings forecast.
The S&P 500 information technology index fell 0.8%, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index falling 1.7% from record highs.
Xilinx was down 3.4% after the chipmaker gave a weak quarterly forecast, hit by the impact of U.S. restrictions on selling to Huawei Technologies.
Facebook fell 1.9% after the social media giant said new rules and product changes aimed at protecting user privacy would slow its revenue growth into next year.
Align Technology plunged 27% and was the largest decliner on the S&P 500 after the orthodontic device maker’s current-quarter forecast came in below estimates.
Two weeks into the second-quarter earnings season, approximately 75% of the 185 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far have topped earnings estimates, according to Refinitiv data.
Broad expectations that the Fed would cut rates to counter the impact of a protracted trade war have helped Wall Street’s main indexes scale record levels this month.
In extended trading, Amazon fell 2% after its quarterly operating income forecast missed analysts’ expectations.
Amazon reported second-quarter earnings below analysts’ estimates, as the world’s biggest online retailer spent more money on faster delivery of packages to Prime members.
Net sales rose about 20% to $63.40 billion in the second quarter, beating estimates of $62.48 billion.
Amazon’s net income rose to $2.63 billion, or $5.22 per share, in the quarter ended June 30, from $2.53 billion, or $5.07 per share, a year earlier. Analysts were expecting $5.57 per share.
Alphabet Inc reported quarterly revenue and earnings that exceeded expectations on Thursday, easing concerns about the short-term growth challenges facing Google, YouTube and the company’s other advertising businesses even as it faces antitrust investigations.
Approximately 6.6 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges on Thursday, as compared to the 6.3 billion share average over the past 20 trading days.
Claims for Unemployment Insurance at Three-Month Low
The number of new applications for unemployment insurance reached to a three-month low last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength even as the economy appears to be losing momentum.
According to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday morning, initial claims fell by 10,000 claims to a seasonally adjusted 206,000 claims for the week ended July 20, the lowest point for that statistic since mid-. Data for the prior week was unrevised.
The Labor Department said no claims were estimated last week.
The four-week moving average, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell by 5,750 claims to 213,000 claims last week.
Layoffs remain low despite a bitter trade war between the United States and China, which has helped to cloud the economic outlook and raise expectations that the Fed will cut interest rates next Wednesday for the first time in a decade.
Thursday’s claims report also indicated the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell by 13,000 claims to 1.68 million for the week ended July 13. The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims slipped 4,500 claims to 1.70 million.
The continuing claims data covered the week the government surveyed households for July’s unemployment rate.
The four-week average of continuing claims rose 9,000 between the June and July survey weeks, suggesting little change in the jobless rate this month. The unemployment rate ticked up one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.7% in June.
Capital Goods Orders Increase
Capital goods orders increased during June, but the increase will probably not change expectations that business investment contracted further in the second quarter and contributed to holding back the economy.
Other data on Thursday showed the goods trade deficit narrowed last month as imports and exports declined, suggesting the trade war between the United States and China was hurting the flow of trade. Inventories slowed sharply, indicating stock accumulation was a drag on economic growth in the last quarter.
The Commerce Department reported on Thursday that orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, increased 1.9% last month. Orders in June increased across the board, with demand for machinery rising by the most in nearly 1-1/2 years.
Data for May was revised lower to show these so-called core capital goods orders gaining 0.3% instead of rising 0.5% as previously reported.
Core capital goods orders rose 1.9% on a year-on-year basis. Shipments of core capital goods increased 0.6% last month after a downwardly revised 0.5% rise in the prior month. Core capital goods shipments are used to calculate equipment spending in the government’s gross domestic product measurement. They were previously reported to have increased 0.6% in May.
June’s surge in core capitals goods suggests a pickup in business spending on equipment, which contracted in the January-March quarter for the first time in three years.
In a second report on Thursday, the Commerce Department said the goods trade deficit fell 1.2% to $74.2 billion in June, with imports dropping $4.6 billion to $210.5 billion last month. Exports fell $3.7 billion last month to $136.3 billion.
It also said wholesale inventories rose 0.2% after increasing 0.4% in May. Stocks at retailers fell 0.1% last month following a 0.3% rise in May.
The government will publish its snapshot of second-quarter GDP on Friday.
Weak business investment has combined with an inventory overhang and design problems at Boeing to undercut manufacturing, which accounts for about 12% of the economy.
The manufacturing sector’s woes were highlighted by Caterpillar, which on Wednesday reported earnings below Wall Street’s estimates and said its full-year profits were expected to be at the lower end of its earlier forecast.
Boeing also reported its biggest-ever quarterly loss on Wednesday due to the spiraling cost of resolving issues with its 737 MAX and warned it might have to shut production of the grounded jet completely if it runs into new hurdles with global regulators to getting its best-selling aircraft back in the air.
The single-aisle plane was grounded worldwide in March after two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. Production of the aircraft has been reduced and deliveries suspended.
In June, orders for machinery jumped 2.4%. There were also increases in orders for computers and electronic products, primary metals, and electrical equipment, appliances and components.
Overall orders for durable goods, items ranging from toasters to aircraft that are meant to last three years or more, increased 2.0% in June, the most since August 2018, after declining 2.3% in the prior month.
Orders for transportation equipment rose 3.8% after falling 7.5% in May. Motor vehicles and parts orders increased 3.1% last month. Orders for non-defense aircraft soared 75.5%.
Boeing reported on its website that it had received nine aircraft orders in June after getting no orders in May
Still, the economy continues to be supported by a strong labor market. In a third report on Thursday, The Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 206,000 for the week ended July 20, the lowest level since mid-April.