Stock Market Today: Stocks Barely Budge Ahead of Apple, Amazon Earnings

The major indexes finished well off their session lows ahead of tonight's earnings reports from Apple and

stock market chart
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stocks opened lower Thursday as investors continued to fret about a rare downgrade to the U.S. credit rating. However, markets turned higher mid-morning amid a busy batch of economic data and earnings reports. 

One of the more notable headlines to emerge from today's jam-packed economic calendar was that worker productivity increased 3.7% in the second quarter, while unit labor costs rose at their slowest annual pace since 2021. 

"Labor productivity, while still weaker than in previous cycles, recovered during the second quarter of the year and has continued to push down unit labor costs," says Eugenio Alemán, chief economist at Raymond James. This is good news for the Fed, the economist adds, as it "weakens the argument that labor costs are a threat to the disinflationary process going forward."

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In other econ news, ahead of tomorrow's key July jobs report, data from the Labor Department showed that initial jobless claims rose by just 6,000 last week to 221,000. The figures reveal a resilient labor market, and it's likely tomorrow's payrolls data will show more of the same. 

"Job growth tends to remain strong in July when the labor market is tight – reflecting strong hiring of youth summer workers – and three of the alternative measures of employment growth we track indicate a strong pace of job growth," says Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs.

PayPal, Qualcomm stocks sink after earnings

As for today's earnings reports, PayPal Holdings (PYPL) fell 12.3% after the fintech firm disclosed its second-quarter results. While PayPal beat on both the top and bottom lines, its adjusted operating margin of 21.4% fell short of company guidance.

Still, Argus Research analyst Stephen Biggar maintained a Buy rating on the financial stock. "We expect PayPal to benefit over time from secular trends that have boosted growth for credit card processors, such as the increasing use of digital payments over checks and cash for both convenience and security," Biggar says. Additionally, the analyst expects PYPL to expand its market share as "the company leverages its platforms globally and takes advantage of its strong brand recognition and rapid growth in merchant acceptance."

Qualcomm (QCOM) was another stock that declined despite reporting higher-than-expected earnings and revenue. The semiconductor stock fell 8.2% after Akash Palkhiwala, chief financial officer of Qualcomm, said on the earnings call that revenue growth in its upcoming fiscal year "will largely depend on macroeconomic environment, global handset units and [a slower] China recovery."

Energy stocks pop on Saudi Arabia news

Energy was the best-performing sector today, jumping 1.0% as U.S. crude futures climbed 2.6% to $81.55 per barrel. Saudi Press Agency – a state-owned media outlet – said Saudi Arabia plans to extend voluntary oil production cuts through September. BP (BP, +1.2%) and Exxon Mobil (XOM, +1.7%) were two of the day's best energy stocks.

As for the major indexes, the Nasdaq Composite finished down 0.1% at 13,959, while the S&P 500 (-0.3% at 4,501) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.2% at 35,215) also closed with modest losses.

On deck are Apple (AAPL) and (AMZN) earnings. In after-hours trading, AAPL is up 0.7% ahead of its fiscal third-quarter results. And AMZN stock is trading up 6.9% after its second-quarter beat.

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Karee Venema
Senior Investing Editor,

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is the senior investing editor at She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.