Dow dips below 35,000 as Fed holds, says inflation remains transitory

Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Microsoft Corp. blew past earnings estimates

U.S. stock markets ended mixed Wednesday as investors digested the Federal Reserve's latest policy decision and sorted through earnings from several blue-chip and tech bellwethers.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 128 points, or 0.37%, while the S&P 500 was little changed and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.7%. The major averages on Tuesday fell from record highs while snapping their five-day winning streaks. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34798 +33.18 +0.10%
SP500 S&P 500 4455.48 +6.50 +0.15%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 15047.699032 -4.54 -0.03%

The Fed held its benchmark interest rate near zero and said it would continue to buy at least $120 billion of Treasury securities and other assets each month. The central bank noted the economy is showing signs of recovering from the disruptions caused by the pandemic and that inflation has risen but continues to show signs of being transitory. 

RECAP: FED CHAIR POWELL'S PRESS CONFERENCE

The benchmark 10-year yield ended up 2 basis points near 1.26%. 

In earnings released Wednesday morning, Boeing Co. booked its first quarterly profit in almost two years as 737 Max deliveries picked up amid a reopening of the global economy. The planemaker said it expects to increase 737 Max production from its current pace of 16 per month to 31 per month by early next year.  

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BA THE BOEING CO. 221.39 +0.29 +0.13%

Elsewhere, McDonald’s Corp. said U.S. same-store sales climbed 25.9% versus a year ago as demand for its new chicken sandwich and a promotion with K-pop group BTS provided a lift. Global same-store sales were up 40.5% from a year ago as the easing of more overseas restrictions bolstered those markets. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MCD MCDONALD'S CORP. 246.42 +1.64 +0.67%

In large-cap tech results, Apple Inc. beat on both the top and bottom lines as every product line posted annual sales growth of at least 12%. However, the tech giant warned the chip shortage would impact iPhone and iPad sales in the current quarter. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
AAPL APPLE, INC. 146.92 +0.09 +0.06%

Microsoft Corp. posted record quarterly profit as revenue from its Azure cloud service soared 51%. Sales guidance for the current quarter exceeded expectations.  

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MSFT MICROSOFT CORP. 299.35 -0.21 -0.07%

Alphabet Inc.'s revenue surged to a record as advertising sales rose almost 70%, benefitting from the online shopping boom caused by the pandemic. The company’s Google Cloud business, which trails rivals from Amazon and Microsoft, narrowed operating loss. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
GOOGL ALPHABET, INC. 2,844.30 +19.98 +0.71%

Meanwhile, Starbucks Corp. slashed its sales growth forecast for China, projecting annual growth of 18% to 20%, down from 27% to 32%, due to travel restrictions. Earnings and revenue for the quarter both outpaced estimates as global same-store sales jumped 73%. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
SBUX STARBUCKS CORP. 114.11 -0.03 -0.03%

Facebook Inc. will release its quarterly results after Wednesday’s closing bell. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
FB FACEBOOK, INC. 352.96 +7.00 +2.02%

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 74 cents to $72.39 a barrel and gold was unchanged at $1,799.50 an ounce. 

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Overseas markets were mixed. 

European bourses rallied across the board with France’s CAC gaining 1.18%, Britain’s FTSE 100 up 0.29% and Germany’s DAX 30 higher by 0.33%.  

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 1.54% while Japan’s Nikkei 225 and China’s Shanghai Composite slid 1.39% and 0.58%, respectively.