Walmart earnings were a pleasant surprise to investors Tuesday morning, as it beat expectations on revenue growth and posted strong online sales numbers in the first quarter to fully include its acquisition of e-retailer Jet.com. Investors bid up the price of Walmart stock close to 4% in early trading, helping the Dow Jones rise roughly 125 points, before paring back some of those gains.

Why it matters: Overall stock prices relative to earnings have been rising steadily of late, raising the question of just how much higher the stock market can go. Walmart has avoided the slump in same-store sales growth that has plagued the bricks and mortar retail sector of late, but investors are bidding up Walmart on the hopes of higher earnings rather than actual results, as estimated earnings per share in 2017 will come in two cents below 2016 performance.

Expand chart
Data: multpl.com; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Go deeper

Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 33,832,124 — Total deaths: 1,010,642 — Total recoveries: 23,507,536Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 7,227,779 — Total deaths: 206,859 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,155,189Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
  4. Health: The coronavirus' alarming impact on the body.
  5. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
  6. Sports: Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak.

Over 73 million people watched the first debate on TV

Data: Nielsen; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 73.1 million people watched the first presidential debate on television on Tuesday night, according to Nielsen ratings.

Why it matters: While that's a sizable audience for any American TV program, it's down more than 13% from the record number of TV viewers who tuned in for the first debate of the 2016 election. The chaotic nature of the debate and the overall uncertainty around this year's election may have pushed some viewers away.

Senate passes bill funding government through December

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.

Where it stands: The legislation will avert a government shutdown before funding expires Wednesday night and before the Nov. 3 election. The House passed the same measure last week by a vote of 359-57 after House Democrats and the Trump administration agreed on the resolution.

  • Both sides agreed early in negotiations that the bill should be a "clean" continuing resolution — meaning each party would only make small changes to existing funding levels so the measure would pass through both chambers quickly, Axios' Alayna Treene reported last week. The bill now goes to President Trump for his signature.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!