What Happened in the Stock Market Today

Stocks were mixed on Thursday as dozens of the world's largest businesses delivered their quarterly reports. When the closing bell rang, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI)  had a small gain, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC)  fell a modest 0.3%.

Today's stock market

Index Percentage Change Point Change
Dow 0.44% 112.97
S&P 500 (0.30%) (8.63)

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Tech stocks set the pace for today's decliners, and the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEMKT: XLK) lost 1.5%. Meanwhile, consumer goods stocks helped prop up the market, with the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEMKT: XLP) rising 0.5%.

As for individual stocks, earnings news sent Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) plummeting and Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) soaring. Read on to learn why.

Wall Street street sign with the word "Exhcnage on a stone wall behind it.

Image source: Getty Images.

Investors unfriend Facebook after earnings

Shares of Facebook plunged 19% after the social media titan announced disappointing second-quarter results that included decelerating top-line growth and increasing costs.

Quarterly revenue increased 42% year over year to $13.23 billion, a steep slowdown from the 49% growth it posted last quarter. Earnings per share rose 32% to $1.74, slowing from 63% growth three months ago. By comparison, most investors were looking for slightly lower earnings of $1.72 per share on higher revenue of 13.36 billion.

"Our community and business continue to grow quickly," said CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "We are committed to investing to keep people safe and secure, and to keep building meaningful new ways to help people connect."

But investors were most troubled by management's commentary during the earnings conference call yesterday after market close. CFO David Wehner predicted Facebook's growth will continue to decelerate in the second half of the year, driven by a combination of foreign currency exchange as well as certain investments in Facebook's user experience and data-privacy initiatives.

Hershey's delectable quarter

Hershey stock climbed 7.4%  in the wake of the candy and snack manufacturer's strong second-quarter results. Quarterly revenue grew 5.3% year over year to $1.752 billion, driven by a 5.9-point benefit from acquisitions, a 1-point benefit from increased volumes, and a 1.6-point negative impact from net price realization. On the bottom line, that translated to 5.6% growth in adjusted net income to $240.6 million, or $1.14 per share.

Analysts, on average, would have settled for earnings of $1.10 per share on revenue of $1.74 billion.

"We continue to invest in the U.S. with our core brands and build capabilities for growth while taking measured steps to enhance long-term profitability," CEO Michele Buck. Buck also added that Hershey's $1.6 billion acquisition of Amplify delivered a "strong performance," and that its integration is "proceeding as planned."

Additionally, Hershey's board approved a new $500 million stock repurchase authorization and increased the company's dividend by 10%.

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Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: FB , HSY , XLK , XLP

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