Wall Street was pulled in two directions on Thursday with a bounce in crude prices boosting the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a selloff in Tesla (TSLA) dragging on the Nasdaq.
The Dow was on track to extend its record run, adding 0.2% after dipping into the red earlier in the session. The Nasdaq fell 0.5%, and the S&P 500 sat on the flatline.
Crude oil held higher on Thursday despite gains in U.S. stockpiles over the past week. The Energy Information Administration reported an increase of 600,000 barrels to weekly domestic stockpiles. Another reading on U.S. stocks from the American Petroleum Institute showed crude supplies dropped by 884,000 barrels in the past week.
West Texas Intermediate crude was up 1.4% to $54.36 a barrel on Thursday.
Tesla reported a mixed fourth quarter with a wider loss but improved sales. The electric automaker reported a loss of 69 cents a share, 26 cents wider than expected. Revenue surged 88.4% to $2.28 billion, beating estimates by $100 million. Tesla didn't issue guidance for 2017 but did say that it expects to deliver 47,000 to 50,000 Model S and Model X vehicles in the first half of the year, which would be roughly a 71% increase over a year earlier. The stock fell 5% on Thursday.
Chinese social media stocks Sina (SINA) and Weibo (WB) were also lower following their quarterly reports. Sina, which holds a 50% stake in Weibo, reported a 37% increase in fourth-quarter earnings and 22% increase in revenue. Microblogging site Weibo doubled its adjusted profit to 34 cents a share from 15 cents a year earlier. Even so, Sina sank more than 10% and Weibo dropped 12%. Alibaba (BABA) , which has a stake in Weibo, fell 1%.
The Dow traded in and out of positive territory Thursday after it closed out Wednesday's session with its ninth straight day of record finishes. That marks its longest record-making streak in 30 years.
The Dow began its long stretch of records on the back of vague hints from Donald Trump over a forthcoming tax plan. However, with few developments on that front, the record rally has taken on a life of its own, benefiting from individual stock moves, such as a better-than-expected quarter from Walmart (WMT) and reports DuPont (DD) could clear regulatory hurdles in its merger with Dow Chemical (DOW) .
The possibility that the markets are at a top shouldn't be ignored, argued James "Rev Shark" Deporre on Real Money, our premium site for active investors. Market "bears are focused on the possibility that Trump tax reform policies will be a disappointment and may not be easily passed," he wrote on Thursday. "It is economic optimism that has been fueling the rally since the election and the bears are certain that hopes are far too high."
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin talked tax plans on Thursday, noting that the administration is working to deliver "very significant" tax reform before the August recess in Congress. Mnuchin told CNBC that the plan will focus "on a middle income tax cut and a simplification for business."
Trump met with the chief executives of major manufacturing companies on Thursday with taxes and regulatory reform top topics of conversation. Attendees included United States Steel (X) , Caterpillar (CAT) and Dow Chemical.
The Mexican peso jumped on Thursday afternoon after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made conciliatory moves with Mexico after Trump's divisive comments on the two countries' relationship through the campaign and his still-new presidency. Tillerson met with Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray who said the meeting was a "good step." The U.S. dollar fell 1.3% against the Mexican peso on Thursday.
Weekly jobless claims climbed in the past week, though remained at multi-year lows. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 6,000 to 244,000 in the past week. The less volatile, four-week claims average fell by 4,000 to 241,000. The monthly average is at its lowest level since mid-1973.
Fitbit (FIT) added almost 3% despite reporting a wider-than-expected loss and sharp decline in sales over its recent quarter. A fourth-quarter loss of 56 cents a share was 6 cents more than anticipated. Sales slumped 19.3% to $574 million, falling shy of consensus by $2 million. The company has suffered from increased competition and weakening demand in the wearables market.
Payments company Square (SQ) reported a narrower loss than anticipated over its fourth quarter with sales growth in the double digits. A fourth-quarter loss of 4 cents a share was half what analysts expected. Revenue increased nearly 21% to $452 million and exceeded expectations by $2.4 million. The stock rose 12%.
Barclays (BCS) posted weaker-than-expected full-year earnings but saw its shares rise in London after the U.K. lender said it would complete its restructuring program six months earlier than planned. The bank said full-year pretax profit was £3.2 billion ($3.98 billion), missing analysts' estimates of £3.9 billion but up from pretax profit a year earlier of £1.15 billion.
Kohl's (KSS) exceeded quarterly estimates and meeting full-year profit expectations. The retailer earned $1.44 a share over its fourth quarter, down from $1.58 a share a year earlier but above consensus of $1.33. Sales of $6.2 billion were in line with estimates. Kohl's said it saw "declines in brick-and-mortar traffic" over the quarter, though online demand countered some of that drag. Same-store sales fell 2.2%, slightly more than consensus of a 2.1% drop.
Chesapeake Energy (CHK) fell 4.8% despite narrowing its loss to 84 cents a share over its recent quarter from $3.36 a share a year earlier. Adjusted earnings of 7 cents a share was in line with estimates. The oil producer also said it anticipates it average rig count to increase by 16 to 18 over 2017.
L Brands (LB) slumped 16% after issuing weak guidance for fiscal 2017. The parent of Victoria's Secret said it anticipates full-year profit no higher than $3.35 a share, far below estimates of $3.61. L Brands also said it expects same-store sales to decline in the mid-to-high teens in February.