What Happened in the Stock Market Today

By Markets Fool.com

Stocks hardly moved on Thursday as investors digested a surprise fiscal stimulus announcement from the Bank of England that helped push the British pound lower against the U.S. dollar. Despite that move -- and a flood of earnings reports -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average(DJINDICES: ^DJI) andS&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC)indexes both finished the session essentially unchanged.

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Today's stock market:

Index

Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow

(0.01%)

(2)

S&P 500

0.02%

1

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

A few individual stocks stood out with bigger moves though, includingTesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and Jack in the Box(NASDAQ: JACK), which posted their latest quarterly numbers after market close yesterday.

Tesla posts growing losses

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Tesla shares crept up by 2% after the electric-car maker posted a $293 million quarterly loss while projecting massive spending increases ahead as it ramps up production of its Gigafactory and prepares to start churning out its mass market Model 3.

Model X. Image source: Tesla.

Yet there was plenty of good news to offset that discouraging profit performance. Tesla delivered 14,000 vehicles in Q2, one-third of which were Model X SUVs, with Model S sales making up the remainder. While that figure was below management's forecast, the company ended the quarter with a much faster production pace -- up 18% sequentially -- which suggests it could deliver as many as 50,000 vehicles to customers over the next six months.

At the same time, automotive gross margin jumped to 22% of sales from 20% thanks to manufacturing improvements for the Model X and higher average prices for the Model S. CEO Elon Musk and his team see more efficient production and lower costs helping to keep profitability rising in the next few quarters, assuming Tesla doesn't run into any further supply constraints.

That supply question seems to be the biggest risk to Tesla's ambitious expansion plans, given that demand appears strong enough to soak up any extra supply that the company can manage. New vehicle orders rose by 67% this quarter and should only climb as upgraded versions and option packages for the Model S become more widely available at its showrooms.

Jack in the Box protects its market share

Jack in the Box, the California-based fast-casual restaurant chain that also owns Tex-Mex brand Qdoba, jumped 11% following its fiscal third-quarter earnings report. Revenue and profits both beat consensus estimates as the company caught up with rivals, most notably McDonald's (NYSE: MCD): Comparable-store sales growth was on par with the broader quick service industry, erasing a 3-percentage-point gap in the prior quarter.

Image source: Getty Images.

CEO Lenny Comma said that management was "particularly pleased" with Jack's healthy profitability and the fact that comps were "steadily improving throughout the quarter."

At less than 1% comps over the last nine months, though, the chain isn't posting head-turning traffic gains. In fact, Comma and his team lowered their full-year outlook and now target comps of about 0% for Jack in the Box and 2% for Qdoba, compared to the 1% and 3% upticks it had forecast, respectively, in early May.

Investors apparently chose to focus instead on the higher earnings power that Jack is demonstrating as it fends off McDonald's market share attack. However, while it's good news that Jack's restaurant-level margins are set to climb to 21% this year (from 20% in 2015), it's hard to see this stock continuing to set all-time highs until the company can start posting consistent market-beating sales growth.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos owns shares of McDonald's and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.