Wall Street ripped through the earnings season this week with reports out from some of the biggest companies in the S&P 500.
Since Monday, more than 150 companies of the S&P 500 have reported earnings, keeping investors busy for much of the week.
And thanks to lowered expectations, the majority of those who have reported have cleared expectations. Roughly 70% of those that have issued second-quarter reports have exceeded earnings estimates, according to Thomson Reuters.
"Earnings season kicked into high gear this week and companies continued to beat lowered expectations," Jim Davis, regional investment manager for The Private Client Group of U.S. Bank, told TheStreet. "Despite friendly earnings reports, the market has been unable to budge from this limited trading range."
Since Monday, the S&P 500 has fallen 0.08%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped 0.8%, and the Nasdaq has climbed 1.2%.
A number of tech companies helped the Nasdaq achieve such gains, breezing past low-ball estimates in their second quarters. Apple (AAPL) - Get Report was among them, reporting a 15% decrease in the number of iPhones sold from the year-ago quarter, but exceeding estimates. The tech giant shocked markets in its previous March-ended quarter after reporting a drop in overall company sales for the first time in 13 years and a fall in iPhone sales for the first time ever.
Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report enjoyed another quarter of record profit. The e-commerce giant earned $1.78 a share, handily beating estimates of $1.11 a share. Its Amazon Web Services division, which rents enterprise cloud space and computer power, drove growth with a sales increase of nearly 60%.
Twitter (TWTR) - Get Report was one of the few tech companies that disappointed. The social network reported Tuesday a nearly 20% increase in revenue to $601.96 million over the quarter, coming in slightly below expectations. The company said it expects third-quarter revenue no more than $610 million, well below expectations of $678 million.
The Federal Reserve was the news of mid-week after members opted to leave rates unchanged at its July meeting, as expected. The vote to hold rates as is was nearly unanimous, save for the sole vote from Kansas City Fed President Esther George who voted to raise rates. The likelihood of a move on interest rates in July was low heading into the meeting. A rate hike in July had only a 3% probability, according to CME Group Fed funds futures.
The Fed touted improvements to the economy in a statement following the conclusion of its two-day meeting. Increasing confidence in the economy was taken by some as a signal of the central bank's openness to a possible move on rates in September.
An estimate of second-quarter U.S. economic growth out on Friday seemed to go against the Fed's optimism. The U.S. economy grew just 1.2% in the second quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, far short of estimates of 2.6% growth. First-quarter growth was also reduced to 0.8% from 1.1%. U.S. exports climbed 1.4% over the quarter, while U.S. imports dropped 0.4%.
Crude oil closed Friday's session with weekly losses of 5.9%, weighed down by worries over a domestic supply glut. The number of active rigs drilling for crude rose by 3 to 374, their fifth week of increases, according to Baker Hughes data. Weekly data from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed an increase in inventories, exacerbating worries over a supply glut.
"The combination of strong crude and product inventories will likely keep pressure on prices in the near-term, especially as peak driving season comes to a close and producers continue to add to the weekly rig count," said Joseph George, commodity analyst at Schneider Electric.