Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • Stocks ended mixed as the S&P 500 set a record close and the Nasdaq slumped on a revenue miss from Alphabet. 
  • Merck  (MRK - Get Report) posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings and the stock rose 2.5%.
  • McDonald's  (MCD - Get Report) missed Wall Street's first-quarter earnings expectations but reported improved comparable-store sales. Shares rose slightly.

Wall Street Overview

The S&P 500 closed at a record high again Tuesday while disappointing sales from Alphabet  (GOOGL - Get Report) weighed down the Nasdaq

The S&P 500 rose 0.10% to 2,945.83, while the Nasdaq declined 0.8%, one day after both indices had record closings. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 39 points, or 0.15% to, 26,593. 

Alphabet tumbled 7.5% to $1,198.96 after the online ad giant reported first-quarter revenue that missed Wall Street expectations.

McDonald's, a Dow component, missed Wall Street's first-quarter earnings expectations but reported improved comparable-store sales in both the U.S. and international markets. Shares rose slightly to $197.53. 

 
General Electric ( GE - Get Report)  posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings and confirmed its full-year guidance. Shares climbed 4.5% to $10.17.
 
General Motors ( GM - Get Report)  declined after the No. 1 U.S. automaker's first-quarter earnings topped forecasts, but revenue came up short. Shares fell 2.7% to $38.95.
 
Merck ( MRK - Get Report) posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings and lifted its 2019 profit guidance, as sales of its Keytruda lung cancer treatment topped $2.2 billion. Shares rose 2.5% to $78.71.
 
Meanwhile, Pfizer  ( PFE - Get Report) beat Wall Street's first-quarter earnings estimates and boosted the mid-point of its full-year profit forecast. Shares rose 2.6% to $40.61.
 
In economic news, pending home sales rose 3.8% in March.

Consumer confidence, meanwhile, improved in April, according to the Conference Board, rising to 129.2 from 124.2, and beat estimates that called for a reading of 126.9.

"Consumer confidence partially rebounded in April, following March's decline, but still remains below levels seen last fall," Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at the Conference Board, said in a statement. "Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue growing at a solid pace into the summer months. These strong confidence levels should continue to support consumer spending in the near-term."

"It's interesting to see consumers looking to the stock market in order to decide how confident they are in the economy," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer with Independent Advisor Alliance, "but in the context of unemployment continuing to move toward all-time lows and wage inflation showing gains in pay, consumers have turned their attention to the stock market."

The Federal Reserve's two-day meeting began Tuesday. It's widely expected the central bank will hold steady on interest rates when it announces its decision Wednesday afternoon.

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