US stocks mostly up on Amazon, Alphabet profits

 A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Strong earnings from Amazon and Google parent Alphabet lifted US stocks mostly higher on Friday (July 29), countering a disappointing report on second-quarter US economic growth.

Alphabet jumped 3.1 per cent as its second-quarter earnings of US$4.9 billion (S$6.5 billion) topped analyst expectations due to strong growth in online advertising. Amazon advanced 0.9 per cent on a ninefold jump in second-quarter earnings to US$857 million.

But US growth came in at a tepid 1.2 per cent, according to official data, well below the 2.6 per cent analyst estimate.

The Dow was also weighed down by ExxonMobil, which fell 1.4 per cent after reporting a nearly 60 per cent plunge in second-quarter earnings to US$1.7 billion.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1 per cent to 18,432.24.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.2 per cent to 2,173.60, less than two points from an all-time high, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.1 per cent to 5,162.13.

"We're basically at all-time highs, but the market is evaluating whether there is reason to break out another leg higher," said David Levy, portfolio manager at Republic Wealth Advisors.

Key items next week that could sway stocks in either direction include the US jobs report for July and another round of corporate earnings. Markets are also eyeing oil prices, which have been under pressure and are near US$40 a barrel.

Molson Coors Brewing jumped 4.5 per cent after brewer SABMiller accepted a final takeover offer from rival Anheuser-Busch InBev. The move sets the stage for Molson Coors to acquire SABMiller's 58 percent stake in the MillerCoors venture.

Online travel company Expedia lost 2.2 per cent as second-quarter revenues of US$2.20 billion lagged analyst expectations for US$2.25 billion, due in part to depressed travel activity following deadly attacks in Nice, France and elsewhere.

China's Baidu, which is listed in New York, dropped 3.6 per cent after second-quarter profits tumbled 34 per cent to 2.4 billion yuan (US$363.2 million) as a scandal over its policies for displaying paid ads cut into customer growth.