Stock futures moved higher on Thursday, July 27, after a string of positive earnings were setting up benchmark equity indexes to open above records.
S&P 500 futures added 0.19%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 0.1%, and Nasdaq futures climbed 0.7%.
The major stock indexes closed at records on Wednesday, July 26. The S&P 500 added 0.03% to 2,477, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.45% to 21,711, and the Nasdaq climbed 0.16% to 6,422. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were at records for their second day in a row.
Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) rose 2% in premarket trading after reporting a revenue beat in the second quarter on customer gains. Adjusted earnings of 96 cents a share were in-line with estimates, while revenue of $30.5 billion exceeded estimates of $29.81 billion.
Verizon reported a net increase of 614,000 retail postpaid connections in the second quarter. Net phone additions of 358,000 included 590,000 smartphones in the quarter, compared with 86,000 net phone additions, including 336,000 smartphones, in the second quarter of 2016. Analysts polled by FactSet expected Verizon to add 86,100 wireless subscribers in the quarter, after losing more than 300,000 in the first quarter.
Advertising revenue jumped 47% from a year earlier to $9.16 billion, easily beating projections of $9.02 billion. Mobile ad revenue made up 87% of Facebook's total ad revenue during the second quarter, up from 84% a year earlier. The company reported 1.32 billion daily active users during the quarter and said it had just more than 2 billion monthly active users for the first time ever, which was more than analysts expected.
"Overall, we view this as a great quarter for Facebook," said Cramer and the AAP team. "The company continues to over-deliver on the lofty expectations set by investors, even with the company continuing to spend to grow in scale."
Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) was slightly higher on Thursday after it turned out a strong quarterly performance tied to solid box office, TV and theme park results. The cable company declared revenue of $21.16 billion for the second quarter, up 9.8% on the same period one year ago and modestly ahead of the Factset consensus for sales of $20.8 billion. The fastest growing division during the period was filmed entertainment, which saw revenue growth of 59.6% thanks to the box office hit Fate of the Furious, while NBCUniversal and theme parks revenues grew by 17.3% and 15.6% respectively.
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Twitter Inc. (TWTR) was sharply lower in premarket trading on worrying signs of slowing user growth over its second quarter. Twitter reported 328 million month active users, a flat reading from the first quarter, though 5% higher than the same quarter a year earlier. The social network reported a net loss of $116.5 million, wider than $107 million a year earlier. Adjusted earnings of 8 cents a share topped estimates by 3 cents. Revenue of $573.9 million fell nearly 5%, though came in higher than $537.5 million consensus.
PayPal Inc. (PYPL) moved higher on Thursday after a better-than-expected second quarter and solid full-year guidance. The online payments operator earned an adjusted 46 cents a share, a dime higher than a year earlier and above consensus of 43 cents. Sales of $3.14 billion exceeded estimates of $3.09 billion. Transactions increased 23%.
Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) slipped after the company reported a 9% decrease in profit as operating expenses weighed on second quarter earnings. Earnings of $1.24 per share beat FactSet analysts' estimate of $1.20 but fell below last year's $1.28 earnings for the second quarter. Revenue increased 6.7% year-over-year to $5.7 billion, setting a quarterly record. Southwest said revenue growth was due primarily to passenger revenues of $5.2 billion.
Other earnings of note include Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX) , Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) , F5 Networks Inc. (FFIV) , Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) , Imax Corp. (IMAX) , United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) , Sirius XM Holdings (SIRI) , Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.A) , Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) , Pinnacle Foods Inc. (PF) , Mastercard Inc. (MA) , Helmerich & Payne Inc. (HP) , Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) , Dunkin' Brands Group Inc. (DNKN) , Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (DPS) , Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) , ConocoPhillips (COP) , Celgene Corp. (CELG) , Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) , Arch Coal Inc. (ACI) , AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) , and Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) .
Weekly jobless claims in the U.S. rose in the past week, according to the latest reading from the Labor Department. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits increased 10,000 to 244,000. That was around 4,000 higher than anticipated. The less-volatile four-week claims average held at 244,000.
Durable goods orders in the U.S. grew at a steady clip in June, rising by 6.5%, largely tied to a large number of Boeing Co. (BA) orders. Excluding transportation, orders for long-lasting goods increased just 0.2%. Core capital goods orders decreased by 0.1%.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday tiptoed the line between hawk and dove. Following its July meeting, the Fed said it would implement changes to its balance sheet "relatively soon" provided the economy expands as expected. Previous language in the Fed's statement had said those changes would come this year.
The Fed currently holds $4.5 trillion in Treasurys and mortgage-related bonds on its balance sheet. Unloading those would likely tighten monetary conditions in the same way an interest rate hike would. The Fed has previously emphasized that when it plans to do so it will be a gradual process.
"We do have some concern about that causing some volatility and it's such unprecedented territory I'm not sure if anybody honestly knows what it's going to do," Mike Piershale, president of Piershale Financial Group, said of the unwinding process.
The Fed left the federal funds rate at 1% to 1.25%, as widely expected. Another rate hike is not expected until at least December. Even then, chances of a year-end increase are only at 42.9%, according to CME Group fed funds futures.
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