Stock Market Today: Big Tech Boosts Stocks to Best Month Since 2020

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Stocks kept on rising Friday, as (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL) closed out a busy week of Big Tech earnings in fine fashion.

Amazon stock soared 10.4% after the e-commerce company reported a second-quarter top-line beat due in part to 33% year-over-year revenue growth in its cloud segment (Amazon Web Services) and an 18% jump in ad sales. AMZN also gave an upbeat current-quarter revenue outlook thanks to what it called a “record-breaking Prime Day.”

Meanwhile, Apple shares gained 3.3% after the iPhone maker reported higher-than-expected earnings and revenue in its fiscal third quarter. However, the company’s revenue growth rate slowed significantly when compared to the year-ago period.

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On the economic front, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index rose 6.8% on an annualized basis in June – its biggest year-over-year rise since January 1982. But, the headline figure might not be as jolting as it initially appears. “This inflation metric is for June and we know much has changed since then, especially gas prices, so investors should put this inflation report into historical context,” says Jeffery Roach, chief economist for independent broker-dealer LPL Financial. He adds that July inflation rates should ease a bit as food and energy costs have likely pulled back this month.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite outpaced its peers, soaring 1.9% to 12,390, though the S&P 500 Index (+1.4% to 4,130) and Dow Jones Industrial Average (+1.0% to 32,845) still posted solid gains. All three indexes ended higher on a weekly basis. And for July, the Dow and S&P 500 had their best month since November 2020, while the Nasdaq enjoyed its biggest monthly gain since April 2020.

Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 tacked on 0.7% to 1,885.
  • U.S. crude futures jumped 2.3% to $98.62 per barrel.
  • Gold futures rose 0.7% to finish at $1,781.80 an ounce.
  • Bitcoin edged up 0.5% to $23,906. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.)
  • Roku (ROKU) plummeted 23.1% after the streaming company reported earnings. ROKU reported a wider-than-anticipated loss of 82 cents per share in its second quarter, while revenue of $764 million also missed the mark. The company also forecast current-quarter revenue below analysts’ consensus estimate due to a struggling advertising market. “Roku is facing various near-term challenges, including reduced variable advertising spending, and ongoing supply chain issues coupled with inflationary pressure have impacted smart TV sales,” says Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter. “Meanwhile, Roku continues to invest heavily for future growth, resulting in unpalatable results for investors.” But while the analyst called ROKU “dead money over the next quarter at least,” he maintained an Outperform rating on the stock, expecting a rebound over the next 12 months.
  • Oil majors Chevron (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) reported record profits in Q2 thanks to booming commodity prices. For the three-month period, CVX brought in adjusted earnings of $5.82 per share on $68.8 billion in revenue, while XOM reported adjusted earnings of $4.14 per share on $115.7 billion in revenue. Both energy stocks soared in reaction, with CVX up 8.7% and XOM spiking 4.7%.

What the Smart Money is Buying

Investors may be cheering as the stock market wraps up its best month of 2022, but that excitement could be fleeting, if history is any guide. “Analyzing monthly average returns for the S&P 500 back to 1950, the worst month [for stocks] is September, followed by August,” says Gieseppe Sette, president of AI-driven investment research firm Toggle AI.

While we have covered numerous ways for investors to ride out rougher waters – think yield-friendly sectors like utilities or real estate investment trusts (REITs) – it sometimes pays to see what the “smart money” is doing during these volatile times. While you can’t get rich by simply copying moves billionaire investors are making, their resources and connections give them unique insight into the market that most of us don’t have, and that alone makes their top stock picks worth a closer look

Karee Venema was long AMZN and AAPL as of this writing.