Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Alphabet revenue dropped 2% from last year, the company announced in second-quarter earnings Thursday, beating Wall Street expectations a day after Google CEO Sundar Pichai appeared before the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee to face allegations of anticompetitive behavior.

Yes, but: Despite beating expectations on revenue, the company still reported its first-ever decline, thanks to a reduction in the advertising growth rate thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Stock rose slightly in after-hours trading.

Why it matters: The company may have fared better than investors were expecting, but the company remains almost entirely dependent on ad revenue and experienced a difficult quarter.

What they're saying: Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Alphabet and Google, said the company saw gradual improvement in its ad businesses and strong growth in Google Cloud and other revenues.

  • “We continue to navigate through a difficult global economic environment," she said.
  • “We’re working to help people, businesses and communities in these uncertain times,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet. “As people increasingly turn to online services, our platforms — from Cloud to Google Play to YouTube — are helping our partners provide important services and support their businesses.”

By the numbers, via CNBC:

  • Earnings: $10.3 versus $8.21 per share, based on Refinitiv consensus estimates
  • Revenue: $38.3 billion, versus $37.37 billion expected by Refinitiv
  • YouTube advertising revenue: $3.81 billion versus $3.78 billion expected, according to StreetAccount estimates
  • Google Cloud revenue: $3.01 versus $3.06 billion expected, as per StreetAccount
  • Traffic acquisition costs (TAC): $6.69 billion versus $6.67 billion expected, as per StreetAccount

Go deeper

Historic beats have earnings paced to exceed already awful expectations

S&P 500 companies' earnings in the second quarter have been historically good and also historically bad.

What's happening: Earnings are still on pace to be awful, but they are handily beating even more awful expectations from analysts.

Occidental's $8 billion perfect storm shows pressure on U.S. oil industry

A headquarters of Occidental Petroleum. Photo: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Occidental Petroleum, a huge U.S.-based oil producer, posted an $8.35 billion second-quarter loss Monday afternoon as it took huge write-downs on its asset values.

Why it matters: The whole industry is under pressure, but Occidental's problems are compounded by the additional debt it assumed when it beat out Chevron to acquire Anardarko in 2019.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 20,755,406 — Total deaths: 752,225— Total recoveries: 12,917,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 5,246,760 — Total deaths: 167,052 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.