Tuesday morning was relatively quiet on Wall Street as market participants largely continued to focus on earnings results from some prominent companies. From a big-picture perspective, investors are waiting to see if any significant progress comes on the trade front and whether central banks will keep supporting economic growth. As of 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.60%) was up 53 points to 27,144. The S&P 500 (^GSPC 1.05%) climbed 7 points to 3,046, but the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 1.38%) was lower by 19 points to 8,307.

Among some of the better-known names releasing their latest quarterly results, General Motors (GM 4.71%) performed reasonably well but had to deal with headwinds from its ongoing labor strike. Meanwhile, Shopify (SHOP 4.18%) took a hit after it disappointed investors with a surprise loss for the period.

GM sputters but then revs up

Shares of General Motors climbed 5%, defying naysayers with its third-quarter financial results. Although the automaker has had to deal with a United Auto Workers strike since mid-September, GM's numbers weren't nearly as bad as many had expected.

White General Motors vehicle on an empty road with antennas and sensor equipment on the roof.

Image source: General Motors.

General Motors did face challenges during the quarter. Revenue was down about 1%, with net income falling nearly 9% compared to the previous year's period. Global unit deliveries fell to 5.68 million vehicles, down more than 7% year over year.

GM said that the strike has been particularly costly. In North America, revenue would've been higher by $3.3 billion without the labor action, and overall adjusted earnings per share would have been $0.52 higher than the $1.72 per share that the company actually posted. The automaker also cut its previous guidance for the full 2019 year, reflecting the fact that the strike has already extended for a full month into the fourth quarter and shows no signs of ending soon.

Striking workers have argued that the success of the auto industry means that they deserve a greater share of profits than they've received, and GM is paying the price. Unless the strike gets resolved soon, today's gains for GM stock could easily evaporate in the months to come.

Shopify can't grow fast enough

Meanwhile, shares of Shopify were down 2%. The e-commerce services provider posted some solid numbers in its third-quarter financial report, but investors didn't seem satisfied with the results.

Many of Shopify's metrics looked strong. Revenue jumped 45% from year-ago levels, with monthly recurring revenue rising 34% year over year. The company's Shopify Plus high-volume subscription plan represented more of its sales, bringing in 27% of its monthly recurring revenue. Shopify also said it passed the 1 million mark in terms of merchants on its worldwide platform.

However, there were problems on the expense side. Operating expenses rose 39%, with overhead costs soaring 63% and research and development spending jumping 47%. Sales and marketing costs were also significantly higher than year-earlier levels. That caused Shopify to post a net loss even on an adjusted basis.

Shareholders weren't pleased with the red ink, but Shopify is still optimistic about its future. With increased guidance for revenue and earnings and a lot of potential growth in e-commerce yet to come, Shopify looks like it has a strong chance of rebounding from today's modest loss.