S&P 500 notches 3rd straight record high as quarterly earnings pour in

U.S. stocks closed mixed Tuesday, but the S&P 500 notched a record high for the third straight session on unexpectedly strong quarterly results from General Electric and biopharmaceutical company Pfizer.

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Quarterly results were mixed as General Motors earnings came in weak and shares of Google parent Alphabet tumbled after the search engine reported on Monday that revenue growth in the last quarter was the weakest since 2015.

Alphabet indicated that rivals had taken a share of its once-dominant online advertising business. That slashed its share price -- its worst decline since 2012 -- and cut some $70 billion out of its market capitalization.

The tech giant said first-quarter revenue grew 17 percent to $36.34 billion, falling short of the $37.33 billion expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv and well below a revenue growth rate of 26 percent in the same period one year ago.

Alphabet posted a slight earnings beat, with earnings per share of $11.90 against an expected $10.61. The EPS figure excluded a $1.7 billion fine Google paid to settle an inquiry from European regulators.

Investors digested a host of other earnings. Strong sales in its aviation unit lifted General Electric's first-quarter results higher than the expectations of Wall Street, which rewarded the struggling conglomerate with a jump in its share price.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
GOOGLALPHABET INC.1,480.74-16.08-1.07%
GEGENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY6.71+0.04+0.52%

The Boston-based company, which swung to a profit from the year-earlier quarter, said Tuesday revenue from its aviation business rose 12 percent to $7.95 billion, topping expectations of $7.86 billion.

Slower North American sales and a flat international business at General Motors underscored lower profits and revenue in the first quarter, sending shares down.

The Detroit-based carmaker is in the midst of shifting its operations away from passenger cars towards electric and autonomous vehicles, as well as trucks and sports utility vehicles, one that is expected to lead to as many as 14,000 job cuts.

Shares of Pfizer, the maker of Eliquis and Xeljanz, rose after the biopharmaceutical giant said higher prescription drug sales helped it book a 90 percent jump in first-quarter profit, far above Wall Street expectations. Revenue also topped expectations.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
GMGENERAL MOTORS COMPANY28.50+0.52+1.86%
PFEPFIZER INC.37.73-0.66-1.71%
AAPLAPPLE INC.437.22-13.69-3.04%

Apple shares weighed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average as shares of the iPhone maker tumble more than 2 percent in advance of its earnings announcement.

Official Chinese data published early Tuesday showed factory activity in the world's second-largest economy showed a sharp drop in April, missing analyst expectations.

Investors monitored on U.S.-China trade talks, especially after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that a deal could be reached in the next few weeks.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES27686.91-104.53-0.38%
SP500S&P 5003337.95-22.52-0.67%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX10803.014226-165.34-1.51%

Crude oil prices surged, raising the specter of inflation, heretofore a non-issue for investors, despite the strong U.S. economy. West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark U.S. crude oil rose about 1 percent to $64.02 per 42-gallon barrel.

The Federal Reserve's interest rate-setting committee began a two-day meeting. Wall Street does not expect the central bank to make any changes to interest rates.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury eased fractionally to 2.5 percent.

Tuesday's market action followed a record-setting session the previous day. The benchmark S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes both hit new records Monday, but the Dow remained the laggard. Financial stocks led the gains in the S&P 500, climbing 1.2 percent with Citigroup and Bank of America among the best performers.

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China’s Shanghai Composite closed up 0.52 percent, the Hang Seng was off 0.65 percent and Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.22 percent.

Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.12 percent, France’s CAC 40 fell 0.22 percent and Germany’s DAX eased 0.05 percent.