Updated from 2:14 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Aug. 1.
Stocks moved higher on the first day of August thanks to a rally in telecoms, though weak auto sales capped any big gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 0.4% to 21,974 after striking an all-time high of 21,990 earlier in the session. The S&P 500 increased 0.25% and the Nasdaq added 0.21%.
The Dow was on track to close at another record, what would be its fifth consecutive all-time high in a row.
Sprint Corp. (S - Get Report) moved nearly 11% higher after returning to profit for the first time in three years. The telecom earned 5 cents a share over its first quarter compared to a loss of 8 cents a year earlier. Analysts anticipated a loss of a penny a share. Revenue of $8.16 billion came in slightly below estimates. Postpaid phone customers increased by 88,000, while prepaid customers rose by 35,000. Sprint forecasts cost cuts of an additional $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion over fiscal 2017.
Other telecoms followed Sprint's lead. Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ - Get Report) led the Dow, NTT Docomo Inc. (DCM) , Telefonica S.A. (TEF - Get Report) and BT Group PLC (BT) gained. The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Telecom ETF (IYZ - Get Report) rose 1%.
Ford Motor Co. (F - Get Report) , General Motors Co. (GM - Get Report) and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU - Get Report) reported worse-than-expected July sales on Tuesday. Ford's sales dipped 7.5% vs. an expected 5% decline. Ford's weaker performance was driven largely by lower fleet sales, which were down 26.4%. Retail sales declined 1%.
GM reported a 15.4% drop in unit sales to 226,107. Analysts had expected a narrower 9.1% decline. Retail sales fell 14.4%.
Fiat Chrysler's sales dropped 10.7% vs. an expected decline of 7%. Fiat Chrysler reported lower sales as daily rental fleets contributed to its July decline.
Toyota Motor Corp. (TM - Get Report) was the only automaker to surprise analysts with a better July than anticipated. Unit sales rose 3.6% to 222,057 units, far better than an expected decline of 4.3%. Toyota and Lexus sales rose, while Camry and Corolla sales declined.
Apple Inc. (AAPL - Get Report) will release its recent quarterly performance after the bell Tuesday, Aug.1, in what will be one of the most closely watched reports of the earnings season. The world's largest company is expected to post earnings of $1.57 a share during its quarter that ended in June, a 10% increase from a year earlier. Sales are forecast to have climbed nearly 6% to $44.9 billion.
Pfizer Inc. (PFE - Get Report) beat analysts' estimates on its bottom-line. Adjusted profit of 67 cents a share came in 2 cents higher than expected. However, revenue of $12.9 billion missed forecasts of $13.07 billion. The drugmaker lifted its full-year adjusted earnings guidance to $2.54 to $2.60 a share, up from its previous range of $2.50 to $2.60. The stock rose slightly.
Xerox Corp. (XRX - Get Report) also reported a mixed quarter. The copier company earned an adjusted 87 cents a share, 7 cents above expectations. Revenue of $2.57 billion fell short of $2.62 billion consensus. Its full-year adjusted earnings guidance of $3.20 to $3.44 a share was in line with $3.32 consensus.
Under Armour Inc. (UA - Get Report) cut its full-year forecasts and the stock tumbled 9.8%. The retailer anticipates full-year sales growth of 9% to 11%, down from its previous targets of 11% to 12%. Adjusted earnings guidance of 37 cents to 40 cents a share came in lower than a target of 42 cents. Under Armour also announced a restructuring plan, involving job cuts, that is expected to rack up charges of $110 million to $130 million.
BP PLC (BP - Get Report) posted second-quarter earnings largely in-line with forecasts and maintained its dividend as the company swung to a profit thanks to gradually rising global oil prices. BP said profit for the three months ended in June was $144 million, a massive swing from the $1.42 billion loss recorded during the same period last year. Underlying replacement cost profit slipped 5% to $684 million, but still topped a company-provided estimate of $500 million.
Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. (LL - Get Report) rocketed 33.6% higher after posting an unexpected profit in its recent quarter. The company swung to earnings of 16 cents a share from a loss of 45 cents a year earlier. Analysts anticipated a net loss of 6 cents a share. Revenue of $263.5 million exceeded estimates of $256.9 million. Same-store sales increased 8.8%, outpacing an anticipated 6% rise.
U.S. personal incomes came in flat in June, while consumer spending ticked up slightly. Incomes were flat month-on-month in June, falling short of 0.4% growth consensus. Income increased by 0.4% in May. Spending rose by 0.1%, which was in line with estimates. Core personal consumption expenditures rose by 0.1% in June and have risen 1.5% over the past 12 months.
Manufacturing activity weakened in July, though a touch less than anticipated. The ISM Manufacturing Index slipped to 56.3 in July, down from a reading of 57.8 in June. Analysts anticipated a reading of 56.2. The index has remained in expansion territory for 98 months in a row. New orders, production and the employment index each slipped.
A separate reading on manufacturing showed strengthening in the sector. Markit Economics' PMI manufacturing index climbed to 53.3 in July, a four-month high. Output and new orders increased. Markit had registered a reading of 52 in June.
Construction spending in June showed an unexpected decline. The Census Bureau reported a 1.3% drop in June spending to $1.21 trillion. Economists anticipated an increase of 0.5%.
Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (HTZ - Get Report) rebounded more than 6% on Tuesday after plummeting a day earlier. The car rental company tanked 21% on Monday, July 31, after Barclays downgraded its rating to underweight from equal weight. Analysts anticipate a big miss on earnings when the company reports on Aug. 8.
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