Records for Stocks, VIX, as Earnings Season Hits High Gear

A tech sell-off on Thursday shook things up

Patrick Martin
Jul 28, 2017 at 2:09 PM
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In one of the busiest earnings weeks of the year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), S&P 500 Index (SPX), and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) all scored fresh record highs. In addition, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) -- or the stock market's "fear gauge" -- tumbled to a record low, and extended an unprecedented stretch in single-digit territory, after the Fed unsurprisingly decided to leave interest rates unchanged. However, a tech sell-off on Thursday rocked the boat a bit, and traders also digested a notable rebound for oil and the latest setback for Republicans' planned Obamacare repeal.

FAANG, Tech Companies Step Up to the Earnings Plate

Facebook toasted an excellent earnings report, bucking its shaky post-earnings history. However, fellow FAANG members Amazon and Google parent Alphabet weren't as fortunate (though this stock explored record highs after reporting banner Prime Day sales). Looking ahead, bullish traders continue to eye Apple ahead of its earnings next week.

Outside of FAANG, Twitter got its wings clipped after reporting earnings. Fellow social network and Snapchat parent Snap also had a week to forget, as the stock sunk to a new record low, and Akamai fell on weak guidance. Chinese tech stocks Baidu and Weibo turned in impressive performances, though, with the former skyrocketing to all-time highs after earnings.

Blue Chips Report Quarterly Figures

Dow staples Verizon and Caterpillar turned in earnings beats, helping the blue-chip barometer to record highs. Industry leader Boeing also reported excellent earnings, though many other airline stocks weren't as fortunate. And while Dow stock Chevron moved higher after reporting, fellow blue-chip oil stock Exxon Mobil retreated to new lows.

Merck stock struggled for momentum after the company warned that halted production from a cyber attack will weigh on profits. Elsewhere, fellow pharmaceutical stock Astrazeneca stared down its worst days in years. It wasn't all bad news for drugmakers, though, with this pair of biotech stocks moving higher.

Other Earnings Winners and Losers

Automakers were also in the earnings spotlight this week. While Detroit darling General Motors dropped after a revenue miss, and a week forecast from Ford Motor sent the shares gapping lower. Next week, electric vehicle maker Tesla will step up to the earnings plate.

Hibbett Sports kicked off the week on a sour note with a sales warning that reverberated around the athletic apparel sector. Specifically, both Under Armour and Dick's Sporting Goods stocks felt the heat, exacerbated by a pair of negative analyst notes.

Apple Reports Next Week

Next week will mark a continuation of earnings season, with Apple and Pandora set to report, and jobs data coming into focus. As for the month of August, traders may want to consider small-cap stocks and banks, and steer clear of these oil stocks.


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