Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Aug. 1:
1. -- Stocks Mixed Amid New U.S.-China Trade Tensions
U.S. stock futures suggested a mixed to higher start for Wall Street on Wednesday, Aug. 1, with investors balancing reports of an escalation of trade tensions between the U.S. and China against the relief of stronger-than-expected quarterly profit from Apple Inc. (AAPL) - Get Report that look to have soothed concerns over the health of the tech sector.
Multiple reports, first from Bloomberg, said the White House was ready to more than double the level of threatened tariffs on China-made goods -- to 25% from 10% -- as part of its effort to tackle another record trade deficit with the world's second-largest economy.
Shares in Shanghai fell 1.8% on Wednesday. European shares traded lower.
The economic calendar in the U.S. on Wednesday includes announcement from the Federal Reserve on interest rates at 2 p.m. ET, the ADP National Employment Report for July at 8:30 a.m., the PMI Manufacturing Index for July at 9:45 a.m., the ISM Manufacturing Index for July at 10 a.m., Construction Spending for June at 10 a.m., and Oil Inventories for the week ended July 27, at 10:30 a.m.
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2. -- Apple's iPhones Drive Revenue Gains
Apple beat expectations nearly across the board in its seasonally weakest quarter.
The tech giant reported $53.3 billion in revenue for the quarter, beating analysts' estimates of $52.3 billion. That represented growth of 17%, higher than expectations of 15%. It also beat projections on earnings per share, reporting $2.34 vs. estimates of $2.16.
iPhone sales, a closely watched metric because Apple earns the majority of its revenue from phone sales, also beat forecasts despite total unit sales coming in slightly lower than what analysts had predicted. Total unit sales for the quarter were 41.3 million, but iPhone revenue increased 20% - signaling that sales of the iPhone X, which retails at $1,000 and up, as well as the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which start at $700 and $800, respectively, drove the boost.
The iPhone's average selling price for the quarter was $724, compared with consensus of $693.
"We're thrilled to report Apple's best June quarter ever, and our fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "Our Q3 results were driven by continued strong sales of iPhone, Services and Wearables, and we are very excited about the products and services in our pipeline."
- Apple iPhone Revenue Rises 20% as iPhone X and 8 Drive Higher Selling Prices
- Apple Makes New Highs After Beating Estimates: 7 Key Takeaways
Apple shares rose 3.6% in premarket trading on Wednesday.
Apple said it expects to generate revenue of between $60 billion and $62 billion in its fiscal fourth quarter with a gross margin between 38% and 38.5%. Wall Street was calling for fourth-quarter revenue of $59.47 billion on earnings of $2.65 a share.
"Expectations were high into the quarter but Apple once again demonstrated why this is a stock to be owned, not traded," wrote Cramer and the AAP team. "With growth being seen across the globe, several geographies posting double-digit revenue gains year over year, including China, and services growth sustaining its strong momentum, we continue to see upside to shares and are currently reviewing our price target and rating."
3. -- Huawei Is Now World's No. 2 Smartphone Maker
Despite its strong fiscal third quarter, Apple has dropped to the third-largest smartphone seller in the world after China's Huawei passed the iPhone maker.
Huawei shipped about 54.2 million handsets for the quarter, registering 40.9% year-over-year growth, eclipsing Apple's 41.3 million in total unit sales, according to research firms IDC, Canalys and IHS Markit.
Samsung (SSNLF) remains No. 1, selling more than 70 million phones last quarter.
4. -- Analysts Non-Commital on Tesla
One outrageous comment by Tesla CEO Elon Musk on the earnings call (like he made on the first-quarter call) after Wednesday's closing bell could send the stock plunging on Thursday. That would be in addition to the inevitable concerns from the earnings report about Tesla's cash position.
Analysts expect the electric vehicle company to report a loss of $2.88 a share on revenue of $3.99 billion, according to FactSet.
Among the 34 analysts on Wall Street that cover Tesla, 10 rate the stock a buy despite the prospect for endless losses and cash burn. The rest are divided equally among sell and hold ratings.
Tesla was rising 0.6% in premarket trading.
5. -- MetLife, Sprint Report Earnings
Earnings are also expected Wednesday from Allstate Corp. (ALL) - Get Report , Cirrus Logic Inc. (CRUS) - Get Report , Dine Brands Global Inc. (DIN) - Get Report , Express Scripts Holding Co. (ESRX) , Humana Inc. (HUM) - Get Report , Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO) - Get Report , MetLife Inc. (MET) - Get Report , Sprint Corp. (S) - Get Report , U.S. Steel Corp. (X) - Get Report , Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) - Get Report and Yum China Holdings Inc. (YUMC) - Get Report .