Thursday wasn't great for Wall Street as a whole, but don't tell that to investors in Nasdaq stocks. The Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) and the Nasdaq-100 both gained ground, defying the broader market decline by posting modest advances.

This week is a big one for earnings season, and tonight's reports from Nasdaq tech giants Apple,, and Alphabet will dominate headlines on Friday. Yet today's news from Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and PayPal Holdings (NASDAQ:PYPL) was positive, pointing to the prospects for continued strength in the tech and fintech sectors in the future.

5G lifts Qualcomm

Qualcomm saw its stock jump 15% following its late-Wednesday release of fiscal third-quarter financials. The chipmaker reported remarkably stable results compared to year-ago levels, but that was more than enough to keep shareholders happy.

Qualcomm virtual reality headset in black and red.

Image source: Qualcomm.

It's amazing just little Qualcomm's numbers changed from last year's performance. Revenue of $4.89 billion was down just $4 million year over year, while pre-tax earnings were up $3 million to $1.10 billion. Net income was flat, and it took a decline in outstanding shares to send earnings per share up 8% from the third quarter of fiscal 2019.

Yet a couple of things went Qualcomm's way. First, the company is seeing positive impacts from the ongoing shift to 5G wireless technology. Moreover, a settlement earlier this month with China's Huawei to cross-license intellectual property could add $1.8 billion to revenue in the coming quarter, including back payments for previous periods.

Investors are pleased to see Qualcomm back in a position of strength. It'll be up to the company to work toward making that last as long as it can.

PayPal pays off

Elsewhere, shares of PayPal Holdings climbed 4%. The payment processing company did well in the second quarter, taking advantage of a big rise in e-commerce due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PayPal set new records in several key metrics. Total payment volume jumped nearly 30% to $222 billion, lifting revenue by 22% year over year. Operating cash flow and free cash flow both more than doubled, and the 21.3 million new active accounts PayPal added in the past three months were the most in its history.

As a result, PayPal boosted its guidance for the remainder of the year. It now expects revenue growth of 23% in the third quarter and 20% for 2020 as a whole. The company thinks it will be able to add 70 million net new accounts to its platform this year.

PayPal has become a vital part of e-commerce, with 3.7 billion payment transactions during the quarter. That's nearly 40 per account, and that shows both the stickiness of PayPal's platform and its potential for further growth in the months and years ahead.

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