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Stock Market Today – 8/4: Stocks End Mixed as Investors Assess Earnings, Await Jobs Data

Stocks finished little changed as investors assessed additional earnings reports and await key economic numbers Friday that will provide further clarity on the direction of the economy.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. U.S. EDT

U.S. stocks finished the day mixed as a heavy flow of financial results continued from corporate America and investors awaited a key employment report due Friday morning. 

The S&P 500 ended off 3.15 points, or 0.1%, at 4,152. The Dow Industrials lost 85 points, or 0.26%, to end at 32,727. The Nasdaq rose 52 points, or 0.4%, to 12,721.

U.S. stocks wavered on Thursday ahead of additional earnings reports as well as key economic numbers that will provide further clarity on the direction of the economy and whether the Federal Reserve’s inflation-fighting rate hikes are proving effective.

Updated 2:45 p.m. U.S. Eastern

U.S. stocks wavered on Thursday ahead of additional earnings reports as well as key economic numbers that will provide further clarity on the direction of the economy and whether the Federal Reserve’s inflation-fighting rate hikes are proving effective.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average at last check eased 0.35%, the S&P 500 ticked down 0.18% and the Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.1%.

U.S. government debt prices traded mixed as investors looked past ongoing geopolitical tensions between China and Taiwan and braced for Friday’s July nonfarm payrolls report.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note dropped to 2.686% while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond edged up to 2.979%. Yields move inversely to prices.

Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 260,000, according to the Labor Department, Reuters reported. They were estimated to have edged lower for the week ended July 30. 

The key economic number will come Friday, however, when July’s nonfarm payrolls report is released. Analysts polled by FactSet are expecting 250,000 new jobs were added to the economy last month following June's 372,000 gain.

Market-watchers are looking for signs that the U.S. labor market, which has remained resilient despite rising rates and a corresponding slowdown in economic growth, will allow the Fed to ease back on its aggressive interest-rate increases. 

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The Fed last raised its benchmark Fed funds rate by 75 basis points in a move to tamp down surging prices for goods and services, which have accelerated in the wake of the pandemic and moves by the Fed and other central banks to make borrowing cheap in an effort to kick-start growth.

The Bank of England raised its key interest rate, to 1.75% from 1.25%, The Wall Street Journal reported. It also outlined plans to sell government bonds acquired during its stimulus programs. 

Lyft  (LYFT) - Get Lyft Inc. Report, Beyond Meat  (BYND) - Get Beyond Meat Inc. Report, Carvana  (CVNA) - Get Carvana Co. Class A Report, Virgin Galactic  (SPCE) - Get Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. Report and meme stock mascot AMC Entertainment  (AMC) - Get AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. Class A Report are scheduled to report their results after the closing bell.

Shares of Lucid Group  (LCID) - Get Lucid Group Inc. Report fell nearly 10% after the electric-vehicle maker cut its forecast for car production.

Clorox  (CLX) - Get Clorox Company (The) Report lost 5% after the cleaning-product manufacturer posted flat revenue for its latest quarter.

Other stocks in the red on Thursday included Hostess Brands  (TWNK) - Get Hostess Brands Inc. Report, which was down 4% after the Twinkies maker reported higher profit and revenue during the recent quarter but noted tighter margins due to higher expenses.

Shares of Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report ended off 3.7% after The Wall Street Journal reported the company plans to cut hundreds of corporate roles in a restructuring effort, a week after warning of falling profits. 

On the positive side, shares of Alibaba  (BABA) - Get Alibaba Group Holding Limited American Depositary Shares each representing eight Report added 2% after the online e-commerce giant reported fiscal first-quarter earnings that beat expectations.

Casino operator MGM Resorts  (MGM) - Get MGM Resorts International Report shares rose 3.7% after it reported a 44% increase in revenue in the second quarter, led by surging business and travel activity in Las Vegas.

Shares of Tesla,  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report meantime, edged up 0.4% ahead of a shareholder vote that is expected to clear the way for the EV maker to complete its second stock split in about two years.

Tesla, whose stock price has roughly tripled in the past two years, is planning a 3-for-1 stock split that it has said is designed to make ownership more accessible to employees and individual investors.

The proposal is among more than a dozen facing investor consideration at Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting, scheduled to be held at the company’s Austin factory at 4:30 p.m. CT.