Major benchmarks climbed on Tuesday after starting the session in the red. In particular, investors stepped further toward equities when Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell noted the U.S. jobs market has grown stronger, and indicated that the Fed will likely continue slowly increasing interest rates in the near term.
Walmart teams up with Microsoft
Shares of Walmart climbed as much as 1.2%, then settled to close up 0.6% after the global retail giant announced a five-year strategic agreement with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to "accelerate [its] digital transformation in retail, empower its associates worldwide and make shopping faster and easier for millions of customers around the world."
Walmart chose Microsoft as its preferred cloud provider and will embrace its full range of cloud-based solutions. The deal will see engineers from both companies collaborate on moving hundreds of Walmart's existing applications to cloud architectures, notably migrating the checkout capabilities for walmart.com and samsclub.com the cloud-powered offerings from Microsoft's Azure.
Of course, the move is widely seen as a joint effort to combat the meteoric rise of online retail juggernaut Amazon, which already benefits from its own massively profitable Amazon Web Services business. But if any two companies have the resources to be able to effectively compete with Amazon in today's digital age, Walmart and Microsoft fit the bill nicely.
Amazon Prime Day sales records
Amazon stock climbed 1.2% to a fresh all-time high following the company's announcement that -- in spite of a brief outage at the start of its Prime Day event yesterday afternoon -- the annual sale was already "bigger than ever," with sales in the U.S. growing faster than last year's Prime Day within the first 10 hours.
To be clear, Amazon didn't provide specific revenue figures for its Prime Day sale. But commerce data-intelligence firm Feedvisor estimates that spending on the event soared a whopping 89% in the first 12 hours. Considering Amazon already extended the duration of Prime Day to 36 hours from 30 hours last year, and added four new countries to this year's sale, let it suffice to say investors are rightly excited by its early success.
Charles Schwab's strong quarter
Finally, shares of Charles Schwab jumped 3.6% in the wake of the investment services firm's stronger-than-expected second-quarter 2018 results. Quarterly revenue climbed 16.7% year over year to $2.486 billion, which translated into more than 50% growth in net income available to common shareholders to $813 million, or $0.60 per diluted share. Most investors would have settled for earnings of $0.58 per share on revenue of $2.47 billion.
"Schwab's second quarter results illustrate our 'Virtuous Cycle' at work -- when we do right by our clients, they entrust us with more business," stated CEO Walt Bettinger. Bettinger also noted core net new assets for the quarter arrived at a company-record $53.4 billion, while both Schwab's retail and advisor services segments set new asset records -- up 46% and 24%, respectively -- in the first half. Schwab's trading revenue also climbed 29% year over year in the first half of 2018.