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U.S. stocks slip—but Apple, Google, and Microsoft report bumper earnings

July 27, 2021, 11:29 PM UTC

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Good evening, Bull Sheeters. This is Fortune finance reporter Rey Mashayekhi, filling in with a special PM edition of the newsletter while Bernhard’s on break.

It was a big day for earnings, with three of the world’s largest tech companies—and largest companies, period—opening their books to the world after the closing bell. But it was a tepid day for global equities at large, with the U.S. market’s winning streak coming to an end and China’s tech selloff only getting worse.

Markets update

U.S.

  • Markets in New York sank for the first time in nearly a week, with all three major indexes pulling back from Monday’s record highs. The S&P 500 fell -0.5%, the Dow slipped -0.2%, and the Nasdaq shed -1.2%.
  • Goldman Sachs is joining the crypto ETF craze, having filed an application with the SEC to launch a publicly traded fund focused on crypto-related companies.
  • The OCC, the nation’s top bank regulator, has created a new position to ensure major banks are appropriately managing climate change risk.
  • U.S. consumer confidence hit a pandemic-era high in July.

Europe

  • The European bourses were down across the board. London’s FTSE lost -0.4%, Frankfurt’s DAX fell -0.6%, the CAC 40 in Paris was down -0.7% and the pan-European STOXX 600 slipped -0.5%.
  • Volkswagen is in talks to acquire French car rental company Eruopcar in a deal valued at around 2.5 billion euro ($3 billion).
  • The EU has backed off from its threat of legal action against the UK over Northern Ireland-related terms of the Brexit trade deal.

Asia

  • Asian markets had a mixed day Tuesday, with those outside China fairing well; Tokyo’s Nikkei picked up 0.5% and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.2%. But the Chinese markets continued to reel from Beijing’s crackdown on the private sector, with tech stocks leading Hong Kong’s Hang Seng down -4.2%. On mainland China, Shanghai’s SSE Composite and Shenzhen’s SZSE Component lost -2.5% and -3.7%, respectively.
  • Investors are retreating from Chinese equities amid regulatory fears. Chinese markets saw $2.6 billion in outflows through the first two days of this week, with Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest among those dumping stocks. Private equity and venture capital investors are also fleeing.
  • Ant Group-backed ride services provider Hello is scrapping its U.S. IPO amid heightened scrutiny of Chinese companies listed on American exchanges.
  • The IMF has cut Asia’s economic growth forecast for this year amid spiking COVID-19 cases and lagging vaccinations.

Elsewhere

  • Gold ticked up marginally.
  • The dollar slipped.
  • Crude oil climbed, with Brent approaching $75/barrel.
  • After Monday’s remarkable rally, Bitcoin is now hovering around $39,000.

Techapalozza 

All eyes were on Cupertino, Mountain View, and Redmond on Tuesday, as Apple, Google parent company Alphabet, and Microsoft reported their quarterly results after the market closed. Here are some highlights from what proved a bumper quarter for all three tech giants:

Apple reported the best fiscal third quarter in its history, earning $21.7 billion on revenues that grew 36% year-on-year, to $81.4 billion. IPhone sales were a major driver, climbing 50% from the pandemic-stricken period a year earlier and generating $39.6 billion. Sales in China were also a major point of improvement, climbing 58% to $14.8 billion. The company’s stock slid more than 1% in after-hours trading, however.

Alphabet more than doubled its second-quarter profits to $18.5 billion on revenues that climbed 62% year-on-year, to $61.9 billion. The company’s enormous digital advertising platform fueled its performance, with ad revenues growing 69% to $50.4 billion. CEO Sundar Pichai noted that the company has benefited from “a rising tide of online activity” amid the pandemic, which in turn helped lure marketing dollars to Google’s digital platform. Alphabet shares rose around 3% in after-hours trading.

Microsoft registered its highest quarterly revenue total ever, reporting sales of $46.2 billion in its fiscal fourth quarter (up 21% year-on-year) and earning $16.5 billion in the period (up 47%). The company’s formidable cloud business saw its revenues climb 30% year-on-year, offsetting slowing growth in its gaming business, which had boomed during the pandemic. Meanwhile, a resurgent job market helped grow LinkedIn’s revenues 46%, while the work-from-home revolution helped drive Microsoft’s Teams workplace collaboration platform to nearly 250 million active monthly users. The company’s stock bounced less than 1% in after-hours trading.

***

That’s all for now; you’ll find today’s reads below. Have a wonderful evening and see you tomorrow.

Rey Mashayekhi
@reym12
rey.mashayekhi@fortune.com

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Today's reads

Why Palantir is investing in SPACs by Lucinda Shen

5 key takeaways from Tesla’s historic Q2 results that have nothing to do with Bitcoin by Christiaan Hetzner

How China’s largest edtech company can survive the government’s latest crackdown by Yvonne Lau

Tesla shakes off Bitcoin’s recent woes, but how will other crypto-heavy companies fare? by Declan Harty

Can Robinhood be trusted with retirement accounts? by Jessica Mathews

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Market candy

“Instead of leaving our financial system at the whims of giant banks, crypto puts the system at the whims of some shadowy, faceless group of super-coders and miners, which doesn’t sound better to me.”

That’s Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), speaking at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday morning entitled “Cryptocurrencies: What are they good for?”

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