Stocks closed the final week of July in mixed fashion, with modest setbacks in the major averages contrasted by a firmer underlying tone to the broader market. At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, weighed down by weakness in oil names, was down 56 points; the NASDAQ gave back a fraction of a point; and the S&P 500 lost five points. More encouraging was that the number of advancing issues outpaced those declining by about five to three on the New York Stock Exchange and around four to three on the NASDAQ.
Chevron, the world's fourth-largest oil company based on proven reserves, saw its second-quarter sales and earnings fall sharply from a year earlier, as declines in oil and natural gas prices took a toll, as did costs associated with decommissioning rigs and facilities.
Oil giant Exxon Mobil has reported second-quarter share earnings of $1.00, close to our estimate, but significantly below the year-earlier tally. The steep decline in oil prices over the past year proved a major stumbling block for corporate results, as did lower natural gas price realizations.