Apple, Boeing earnings power Dow higher as Fed holds rates

The U.S. central bank kept short-term rates at 1.5% to 1.75%

U.S. equity markets rallied Wednesday before giving back some of the gains. Traders digested a number of high-profile corporate earnings and the Federal Reserve held its key interest rate unchanged.

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The Nasdaq, lifted by shares of Apple after its blowout, record quarter, led the gains, followed by the Dow Jones Industrials while the S&P 500 ended the session marginally lower.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX9750.964579-66.21-0.67%
AAPLAPPLE INC.320.30-3.32-1.03%

Dow components Apple, Boeing, Dow and McDonald’s were all higher after releasing their quarterly financial reports. The major averages saw little reaction to the Fed keeping its benchmark interest rate between 1.5 percent and 1.75 percent, taking note of moderate economic growth and a strong job market.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
SP500S&P 5003373.23-12.92-0.38%
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES29219.98-128.05-0.44%

Overnight, China’s National Health Commission said the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak climbed to 132 and that there are now more than 6,000 confirmed cases of the virus. Apple did issue a wider-than-usual range for its second-quarter outlook due to the coronavirus outbreak and its potential impact on its production capabilities.

Boeing reported a $1.01 billion loss in the fourth quarter and its first annual loss in 22 years as the planemaker continued to reel from the grounding of its best-selling 737 Max aircraft. However, the beaten-down shares rallied as some traders and analysts speculated the plane's grounding and production freeze were already priced in.

McDonald’s announced higher global sales than analysts estimated at restaurants open at least a year -- an industry benchmark, helped by higher menu prices, remodeled stores and new delivery partnerships.

Chemical-maker Dow reported better-than-expected results, buoyed by strong demand in Asia and cost cuts.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
BABOEING COMPANY336.28-2.02-0.60%
MCDMCDONALD'S CORP.215.08-0.55-0.26%
DOWDOW INC.48.76+1.20+2.52%

Elsewhere on the earnings front, industrial conglomerate General Electric turned in a better performance than expected as CEO Larry Culp implemented more of his turnaround plan.

Tesla reached an agreement with the German state of Brandenburg to buy land for its European Gigafactory. The electric-car maker is expected to report adjusted earnings of $1.72 a share on revenue of $7.02 billion after the closing bell, according to analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
TSLATESLA INC.899.41-18.01-1.96%

Beyond Meat shares fell after the Canadian restaurant chain Tim Horton’s discontinued its limited-time offer of the plant-based protein.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
BYNDBEYOND MEAT INC.120.58-5.52-4.38%

U.S. Treasurys gained, pushing the yield on the 10-year note down 2.3 basis points to 1.618 percent. On Wednesday morning, data released by the National Association of Realtors showed pending home sales fell 4.9 percent year-over-year in December, missing the 0.5 percent gain that was expected.

Looking at commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil slipped to $53.15 a barrel after government data showed a rise in inventories and gold edged up 0.9 percent to $1,582 an ounce.

In Europe, markets were higher across the board with France’s CAC up 0.4 percent while both Britain’s FTSE and Germany’s DAX gained 0.2 percent.


Overnight, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 2.8 percent as traders returned to work following Lunar New Year celebrations. China’s Shanghai Composite remained closed.