Updated from 1:49 p.m. ET, Thursday, Aug. 3.
Stocks were mostly lower with across-the-board losses on Thursday, Aug. 3, though a shaky Dow Jones Industrial Average held out hope for a gain and a record.
The Dow was up 0.11%, trying for its seventh record close in a row. Any gain would put the index at records. Should the Dow end higher, that will mark its longest record-breaking streak since seven straight records from Feb. 9-17.
The S&P 500 dipped 0.16%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.21%.
Losses were broad, but largely concentrated in the tech sector. Apple Inc. (AAPL) declined 1%, deflating after its positive earnings pushed the Dow to its sixth record close on Wednesday, Aug. 2. Other losers in the tech sector included Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSM) , Broadcom Ltd. (AVGO) , Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and Micron Technology Inc. (MU) . The Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) dipped 0.3%.
The U.S. jobs report will be released by the Labor Department on Friday, Aug. 4. Analysts anticipate that a summer lull could pull the number of jobs added to the U.S. economy to below 200,000 for the third time this year. Economists surveyed by FactSet anticipate 180,500 jobs to have been added to the U.S. economy in July, still a solid pace though slower than the rate of 222,000 in June.
On the plus side, the unemployment rate is expected to fall by 10 basis points to 4.3%. Hourly earnings are expected to have increased 0.3% month on month, picking up from a 0.2% growth rate in June. Year over year, hourly earnings growth is targeted to have held at 2.5%.
Tesla Inc. (TSLA) shares rose nearly 7% after posting a second-quarter loss narrower than expected and reporting strong demand for the Model 3, its newest sedan. The electric carmaker reported an adjusted loss of $1.33 a share, narrower than Wall Street's expectations for a loss of $1.82. Revenue more than doubled from a year earlier to $2.79 billion, surpassing analysts' estimates of $2.52 billion.
3D Systems Corp. (DDD) tumbled 20% after a disappointing second quarter. A net loss of 8 cents a share was double a year earlier. Adjusted earnings of 8 cents a share fell short of estimates by 4 cents. Revenue increased to $159.5 million, down from $162.5 million. For the full year, the three-dimensional printer company anticipates revenue between $643 million and $671 million, wrapping consensus of $661.6 million.
Avon Products Inc. (AVP) was 10% lower after an unexpected loss in its recent quarter and a surprise announcement that its CEO Sheri McCoy was leaving the company. The cosmetics company reported a loss of 12 cents a share compared to profit of 6 cents a year earlier. An adjusted loss of 3 cents a share surprised analysts looking for earnings of 7 cents.
Square Inc. (SQ) halved its quarterly net loss and increased its outlook for the full year. A second-quarter loss of 4 cents a share was better than 8 cents in the year-ago quarter and beat estimates by a penny. Adjusted revenue increased 41% to $240 million and exceeded expectations of $228.8 million. For the full year, the digital payments processor anticipates adjusted revenue of $925 million to $935 million, higher than previous estimates of $890 million to $910 million. Its adjusted earnings guidance was also increased.
Services activity in the U.S. weakened in July to its lowest level in 11 months, according to the latest reading from the Institute of Supply Management. The ISM non-manufacturing index fell to 53.9 in July, down from 57.4 in June and below an expected retreat to 56.9. Business activity ticked up, while employment declined. However, the measure remained above the 50 level indicative of expansion for the 91st straight month.
Factory orders in June rebounded at a slightly faster-than-expected pace. The Commerce Department reported a 3% increase in orders over June, reversing a 0.8% drop in May. Economists had expected an increase of 2.9%.
The Bank of England Thursday kept its key interest rate steady at a historic low of 0.25% and has maintained government bond purchases at £435 billion and corporate bond purchases at £10 billion. The central bank's Monetary Policy Committee voted six to two to keep rates unchanged. Two members voted to increase the bank rate 25 basis points, this was down from three in July.
The BOE now expects the economy to grow by 1.7% this year, down from a previous forecast of 1.9%. The growth forecast for 2018 was also cut to 1.6%, down from a previous estimate of 1.7%.
The Federal Reserve's plan to unwind its balance sheet likely won't cause financial waves akin to a taper tantrum, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren told The Wall Street Journal. "I think it's very unlikely that we would have a taper tantrum," he said in an interview. "The market is pretty prepared for a very, very gradual change in our balance sheet."
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.
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