X-ray diffraction was used to measure the stress and the texture in thin molybdenum layers. The 500 nm thick layers were sputter deposited at various argon sputter pressures. All crystallites in the layers showed a strong tendency to develop a <110> direction perpendicular to the surface of the sample. Depending on the sputter pressure, a different fraction of the Mo crystallites developed a preference for a <110> direction parallel to the tangential direction of the rotating sputter table. The stresses found in the layer are best described when it is recognized that the crystallites in the layer belong to two groups: one group with both directions preferred and one group with only the out-of-plane direction preferred. For the intermediate sputter pressures the highest stresses were observed.