Business Standard

Wall Street climbs on Apple, Boeing results; Fed decision eyed


By Sruthi Shankar
(Reuters) - U.S. stocks jumped on Wednesday, as Apple led a rally in technology shares and Boeing boosted sentiment with an upbeat forecast ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision.
The results helped Wall Street reverse two down days that was triggered by profit warnings from U.S. bellwethers that signalled a bigger impact from a slowdown in China.
Apple Inc's shares jumped 5.3 percent after reporting a sharp growth in services business, easing concerns after the iPhone maker earlier this month cut current-quarter sales forecast.
Boeing Co gained 6.8 percent after the world's largest planemaker forecast full-year profit and cash flow above analysts' estimates amid a boom in air travel and speedier 737 production.
"What Apple is showing us is that when expectations have already come down and aren't getting any worse, then the markets have room to bounce," said Tom Plumb, Chief Investment Officer at Plumb Funds in Madison, Wisconsin.
"There is a growing perception that the economy is not going to be as bad in the United States as people thought."
The ADP national employment report showed private-sector jobs increased by 213,000 in January, above the estimated 178,000 rise. The data comes ahead of the more comprehensive non-farm payrolls report on Friday.
The Fed is set to release it latest policy statement at 2 p.m. ET and most traders expect the central bank to keep interest rates unchanged.
Worries that the Fed would raise rates swiftly had spooked markets late last year. Since the selloff peaked in December, many policymakers have indicated that they would be "patient" about further tightening.
"The market can expect the statement to acknowledge the new theme of patience, which should mean that the gradual rate hiking forward guidance of previous statements is tempered down," Mohammed Kazmi, portfolio manager at UBP wrote in a note.
The S&P 500 banks index was trading flat.
Investors are also tracking the latest round of talks between Washington and Beijing that began on Wednesday, the highest-level meeting since U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce to their trade war in December.
At 12:56 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 326.98 points, or 1.33 percent, at 24,906.94. The S&P 500 was up 23.51 points, or 0.89 percent, at 2,663.51 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 91.50 points, or 1.30 percent, at 7,119.79.
All the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, boosted by positive earnings reports.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc jumped 15.6 percent after the chipmaker reported record quarterly growth in data centre sales and projected 2019 revenue above Wall Street estimates.
The Philadelphia Semiconductor index rose about 1.64 percent, while the S&P technology index gained 2.00 percent.
Microsoft Corp and Facebook Inc, set to report after the closing bell, were up more than 2 percent.
The S&P consumer discretionary index rose 1.4 percent, boosted by a 3.6 percent gain for Inc.
Anthem Inc jumped 10.3 percent after the health insurer topped quarterly profit estimates and said it was speeding up the launch of its in-house pharmacy benefits management business.
Of the 168 S&P 500 companies that have reported results so far, 73.2 percent have topped profit estimates, according to Refinitiv data.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.61-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.64-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 14 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 22 new highs and 22 new lows.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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First Published: Jan 30 2019 | 11:53 PM IST

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