Updated from 5:53 a.m. EST
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Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Feb. 1:
1. -- U.S. stock futures were rising Wednesday and European shares traded higher following earnings from iPhone maker Apple (AAPL) - Get Report that topped forecasts and ahead of a decision on interest rates from the Federal Reserve.
The Federal Reserve's announcement on interest rates is expected at 2 p.m. EST. Economists don't anticipate the central bank will lift rates at the meeting but will be listening for indications as to when and how often the Fed might move on rates in 2017. The central bank last raised rates in December.
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Wednesday includes the ADP National Employment Report for January at 8:15 a.m., the ISM Manufacturing Index for January at 10 a.m., Construction Spending for December at 10 a.m., and Crude Inventories for the week ended Jan. 28, at 10:30 a.m.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sold off for the second day in a row on Tuesday as divisions deepened on Capitol Hill and outcry over recent executive actions from the White House continued to drive uncertainty. The S&P 500 fell 0.09%, its fourth down day in a row, while the Nasdaq rose by 0.02%.
2. -- Apple shares were rising 3.4% in premarket trading on Wednesday after the tech giant posted fiscal first-quarter sales and earnings above Wall Street estimates on the back of strong sales of the iPhone 7.
Apple said revenue for the quarter ended in December rose 3% to $78.4 billion while earnings jumped 8% to $3.36 a share, beating forecasts of for sales of $77.4 billion and profit of $3.23 a share. That's overshadowing light March quarter sales guidance -- revenue of $51.5 billion to $53.5 billion, below a $53.6 billion consensus -- and led shares to rise 3% in after-hours trading to $125 (a new 52-week high).
Apple said 78.3 million iPhones were sold in the first quarter, a gain of 5% from a year earlier and above expectations of 77 million. The iPhones carried a $695 average selling price, up from $691 a year earlier and better than a $687 consensus estimate.
Services revenue in the quarter was $7.17 billion, an increase from $6.01 billion a year earlier and above estimates of $6.9 billion.
The company said it expects fiscal-second-quarter sales of $51.5 billion to $53.5 billion, slightly below the Wall Street estimate of $53.77 billion.
"Whether the immediate uptick in shares is based on the results, the relatively stable guidance, the enormous cash balance or the spooking of any short-sellers who were betting against the rally, the bottom line is that Apple's business remains strong," said TheStreet's Jim Cramer, who holds shares of Apple in the Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. "Looking ahead, the services business, prospects for cash repatriation and the 10th-anniversary iPhone (leading to a massive iPhone refresh cycle) are all reasons for optimism moving forward. Even if the after-hours rally fades, we remain believers in Apple and continue to hold the stock.
4. -- Donald Trump selected Neil M. Gorsuch as his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court of the United States.
The much-anticipated decision was announced at the White House on Tuesday evening and will most certainly be met with fierce opposition by Senate Democrats and liberal activist groups around the country. Gorsuch, who has served for more than a decade as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, becomes the youngest person in 25 years to be nominated to the Supreme Court.
The Trump administration described Gorsuch as a "brilliant jurist" with an "outstanding intellect and a clear, incisive writing style," in a statement. An alumnus of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Gorsuch resides in Colorado.
"The qualifications of Judge Gorsuch are beyond dispute," the president said, adding that the United States "needs badly" to "ensure the rule of law and rule of justice."
Gorsuch was nominated to fill a seat on the Supreme Court that has remained vacant since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia on Feb. 13, 2016.
5. -- Activist investor Elliott Management late Tuesday nominated a slate of five dissident director candidates to the board of Arconic (ARNC) - Get Report soon after the aerospace component manufacturer reported fourth-quarter results that fell short of expectations.
Elliott, owner of 10.5% of Arconic shares and already with three directors on the board from a previous campaign against former Arconic parent Alcoa, said it was engaging former Spirit AeroSystems CEO Larry Lawson as a consultant and pushing to overhaul the board.
In a statement, the firm said "a change of leadership is required to improve performance at Arconic today," saying improved results could lead to a share gain of between 45% and 138% compared to current prices. Lawson gained a strong reputation as a turnaround specialist while at Spirit, and would be a candidate to take over as CEO if activists succeed in pushing out current Arconic CEO Klaus Kleinfeld.
Shares of Arconic rose 0.9% in after-hours trading on Tuesday.