General Electric, AMD, Boeing - 5 Things You Must Know Wednesday

Stock futures rise modestly ahead of a Federal Reserve decision on interest rates; Boeing, General Electric and General Motors report earnings; AMD lifts its full-year sales forecast.
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Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, July 29:

1. -- Stock Futures Rise Modestly Ahead of Fed

Stock futures rose modestly Wednesday ahead of a decision from the Federal Reserve on interest rates and as investors assessed corporate earnings that have highlighted the coronavirus pandemic's impact on profits.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 6 points, S&P 500 futures gained 4 points and Nasdaq futures rose 42 points.

The Federal Reserve isn't expected to make any major policy changes at the meeting and economists expect the central bank to remain supportive of the economy as the U.S. struggles in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

"The market is looking for a fairly uneventful meeting, interest rates unchanged, a cautious economic outlook, and a willingness to provide a lot of liquidity if needed to support debt markets," said James Ragan, director of wealth management research at D.A. Davidson.

"A surprise would be further discussion of 'yield curve control,' which would be the Fed willingness to manage interest rates at longer maturities than just the fed funds. While the Fed has admitted this topic has been mentioned, the market is not expecting this to be a part of the Fed’s toolkit," Ragan added.

Stocks finished broadly lower Tuesday and the Dow slumped 205 points, or 0.77%, to 26,379 following weak earnings from 3M  (MMM) - Get Report and McDonald's  (MCD) - Get Report.

2. -- Boeing, General Electric and General Motors Report Earnings

General Electric  (GE) - Get Report posted a wider-than-expected second-quarter loss but said its cash burn rate was starting to improve and would likely turn positive by 2021. The stock rose 1.6% in premarket trading to $7.

Boeing  (BA) - Get Report reported a "core" loss in the second quarter of $4.79 a share, wider than analysts' expectations of a loss of $2.57.

General Motors  (GM) - Get Report posted a second-quarter loss of 56 cents a share vs. year-earlier earnings of $1.66. Revenue of $16.8 billion beat Wall Street forecasts of $16.2 billion.

Qualcomm  (QCOM) - Get Report and PayPal  (PYPL) - Get Report will be reporting earnings after Wednesday's closing bell.

The economic calendar Wednesday includes an announcement on interest rates from the Federal Reserve at 2 p.m. ET, followed by a press conference from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at 2:30 p.m.

The calendar also includes International Trade in Goods for June at 8:30 a.m., Pending Home Sales for June at 10 a.m. and Oil Inventories for the week ended July 24 at 10:30 a.m.

3. -- Advanced Micro Devices Jumps as Chipmaker Boosts Sales Forecast

Advanced Micro Devices  (AMD) - Get Report was rising 11.27% to $75.23 in premarket trading after reporting second-quarter earnings ahead of analysts' earnings and after the chipmaker increased its full-year forecast.

AMD reported second-quarter adjusted earnings of 18 cents a share as revenue rose to $1.93 billion from $1.53 billion a year earlier.

Analysts had been calling for adjusted earnings of 16 cents a share on revenue of $1.85 billion.

The company said it expects revenue in 2020 to rise 32% from a year earlier to nearly $8.9 billion despite some "macroeconomic uncertainty," according to CEO Lisa Su, who added the company was entering its "next phase of growth."

AMD previously had forecast that sales would rise 20% to 30% and analysts had been expecting 2020 revenue of about $8.4 billion.

"All in ... AMD had to overcome very high expectations coming into the quarter and rose to the occasion on all counts," said Jim Cramer and the Action Alerts PLUS team, which holds AMD in its portfolio. "We believe the shares are certainly benefiting from missteps by main CPU competitor Intel  (INTC) - Get Report."

4. -- Starbucks Rises as Sales Drop Narrower Than Expected

Starbucks  (SBUX) - Get Report reported a fiscal third-quarter loss and a same-store sales decline that were narrower than expected, and said it expects Covid-19 impacts on its business to "moderate meaningfully" in the fourth quarter.

The stock was rising 5.59% to $78.81 in premarket trading Wednesday.

The giant coffee chain posted an adjusted loss of 46 cents a share on revenue of $4.2 billion, down 38% from a year earlier.

Starbucks had been expected to report a loss of 59 cents a share on sales of $4.1 billion.

The company estimated it lost about $3.1 billion in sales from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Global same-store sales dropped 40% in the quarter vs. expectations that called for a decline of 42%. 

Starbucks said it expects fourth-quarter earnings of 6 cents to 21 cents a share and global same-store sales declines of 12% to 17%.

"Overall, Starbucks successfully navigated the tough circumstances and managed to deliver a quarter that was not as bad as feared, despite operating in what will likely be the least restaurant friendly conditions the company will ever experience," said Jim Cramer and the Action Alerts PLUS team, which hold Starbucks in its portfolio.

5. -- Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google CEOs to Testify

The CEOs of America's largest and most powerful tech companies on Wednesday are scheduled to testify before Congress in a hearing that is expected to focus on antitrust issues but could veer into other areas such election interference.

The hearing, which is being called by the House Judiciary Committee, initially was scheduled for Monday but was postponed in order to avoid a conflict with a memorial service for the late Rep. John Lewis. It'll be a rare convergence of major tech CEOs in a single event. Apple's  (AAPL) - Get Report Tim Cook, Facebook's  (FB) - Get Report Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon.com's  (AMZN) - Get Report Jeff Bezos and Alphabet's  (GOOGL) - Get Report Sundar Pichai are all slated to appear. It will be the first ever appearance by Bezos at a congressional hearing.

Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet are holdings in Jim Cramer’s Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells the stocks? Learn more now.