What Happened in the Stock Market Today

Markets Motley Fool

Stocks were little changed Monday on light volume. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) closed essentially flat.

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Today's stock market

Index Percentage Change Point Change
Dow (0.04%) (8.02)
S&P 500 (0.01%) (0.13)

The price of gold rose, and the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (NYSEMKT: GLD) gained 0.5%. Shares of mining companies continued their recent run, with the SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF (NYSEMKT: XME) up 1.2% today and 11.5% in the last month.

As for individual stocks, shares of BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE: BLK) fell after its earnings report didn't meet expectations, and Blue Apron Holdings (NYSE: APRN) dropped sharply on an indication that some formidable competition could be coming soon.

BlackRock grows on strong inflows

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Asset management company BlackRock announced earnings that failed to meet market expectations and saw its stock fall 3.1% for the day. The company reported revenue of $2.97 billion, up 6.1% from the year before, and a 9.6% rise in adjusted earnings per share to $5.24. Consensus estimates for revenue and earnings were $3.01 billion and $5.39, respectively. 

Assets under management grew 16%, an improvement from last quarter's 14% gain. Net long-term inflows of $93.5 billion were fueled by rapid growth of BlackRock's low-cost iShares ETFs, which generate lower fees than the company's actively managed offerings. Net inflows to iShares funds were $73.8 billion, while inflows to retail and institutional products, which together generate 58% of total fees, were only $19.8 billion. 

Management was upbeat about the quarter and the progress the company is making with its technology investments. "While significant cash remains on the sidelines, investors have begun to put more of their assets to work," said Chairman and CEO Lawrence Fink in the release. "The strength and breadth of BlackRock's platform generated a record $94 billion of long-term net inflows in the quarter, positive across all client and product types, and investment styles. The organic growth that BlackRock is experiencing is a direct result of the investments we've made over time to build our platform."

The market was evidently hoping for something better, and BlackRock shares had run up in anticipation. Today's decline simply puts the stock price at a level seen earlier in the month, but it's still 11.6% higher for the year.

Fears of competition for Blue Apron intensify

Shares of newly public food-kit specialist Blue Apron took a pounding today on news that Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) has filed a trademark application for an as-yet-unannounced food-kit delivery service of its own. Blue Apron investors, already nervous about the threat from Amazon following its announcement of plans to acquire Whole Foods Market, sent the stock spiraling down 10.5%.

Amazon applied on July 6 for a trademark on the slogan, "We do the prep. You be the chef." The associated service is described as:

Prepared food kits composed of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruit and/or and vegetables and also including sauces or seasonings, ready for cooking and assembly as a meal; Frozen, prepared, and packaged meals consisting of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruit and/or vegetables; fruit salads and vegetable salads; soups and preparations for making soups

The trademark also covers use of the phrase for "Frozen, prepared, and packaged meals and food kits consisting primarily of grains, rice, noodles, pasta or bakery products," and advertising and loyalty programs associated with online store services and retail store services.

Amazon's plans to acquire the organic grocery chain hurt Blue Apron's value even before it went public, and a trademark application that left little doubt of the online giant's intentions only multiplied the concerns. Blue Apron shares now sell 34% below their IPO price (which was lowered right before the offering).

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Jim Crumly owns shares of Amazon and WFM. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and WFM. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.