Stock Market Today: Stocks Soar Ahead of Nvidia Earnings

Wednesday was a risk-on session for stocks as investors looked ahead to Nvidia's after-the-close earnings report.

Green Nvidia sign at booth at 2023 Chinajoy
(Image credit: Costfoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Stocks jumped out of the gate Wednesday and never looked back as optimism built ahead of this evening's earnings report from major chipmaker and artificial intelligence (AI) giant Nvidia (NVDA). Before this major event, market participants took in another batch of mixed retail earnings and some disappointing economic data.  

Retailers continued to dominate earnings headlines ahead of tonight's results from Nvidia. Foot Locker (FL), for one, saw its share price slide 28.3% after the athletic footwear retailer unveiled its second-quarter results. 

While the company reported in-line earnings of 4 cents per share, revenue of $1.9 billion fell short of estimates. Additionally, Foot Locker lowered its full-year guidance due to "softening trends" in consumer spending the retailer saw in July, and said it will pause its dividend after the upcoming October payout.

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"For a second consecutive quarter, Foot Locker significantly slashed their guidance," says Edward Moya, senior market strategist at currency data provider OANDA."Wall Street was already skeptical of how Foot Locker would finish the year, but the outlook just went from bad to abysmal. A tough consumer backdrop is only going to get worse, which could lead to a few ugly quarters for the footwear chain." 

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), on the other hand, jumped 23.5% after the teen clothing retailer's beat-and-raise report. In the second quarter, ANF swung to a profit of $1.10 per share vs a per-share loss of 33 cents in the year-ago period. Revenue jumped 16.2% to $935.3 million, while same-store sales were up 13%. The company is also targeting full-year sales growth of 10% vs its previous estimate of 2% to 4% growth.

A first look at Nvidia earnings

Still, folks spent the day with one eye trained on NVDA stock, which rose 3.2% ahead of its after-the-close earnings announcement. Shares are up 7% in after-hours trading after the chipmaker disclosed its results. In its second quarter, Nvidia reported earnings of $2.70 per share vs earnings of 51 cents per share in the year-ago period. Revenue doubled on a year-over-year basis to a record $13.5 billion – driven by a 141% quarter-over-quarter surge in data center revenue.

"A new computing era has begun," said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia, in the company's press release. "Companies worldwide are transitioning from general-purpose to accelerated computing and generative AI."

In Nvidia's Q2 earnings call, slated to kick off at 5 pm Eastern time today, "[i]nvestors will be laser-focused on NVDA's comments regarding its ability to meet hyper-demand for its AI chips, and whether the runaway growth in AI can persist at this pace," says Greg Bassuk, CEO at asset management firm AXS Investments. "As NVDA remains a front-runner in fueling the skyrocketing AI explosion, investors will be looking under-the-hood at NVDA's outlook for the AI space for the months and year ahead."

Manufacturing activity continues to decline

On the economic front, S&P Global said its flash manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) fell to 47.0 in August from July's reading of 49.0. Its services PMI dropped to 51.0 from last month's reading of 52.3, a six-month low. Additionally, "cost pressures regained some momentum as the rate of input price inflation quickened on the back of greater fuel, wage and raw material costs," S&P Global wrote in its report

"This morning's August PMI shows that services continued expanding in the U.S., but almost slipped into contraction territory," says José Torres, senior economist at Interactive Brokers. "Manufacturing, meanwhile, continued its sobering downward slide, an ongoing issue that started after central banks began raising interest rates."

The dreary economic data did little to halt today's broad-market rally. At the close, the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.6% at 13,721, the S&P 500 was 1.1% higher at 4,436, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gained 0.5% to 34,472.

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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.