Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose sharply Wednesday, getting a boost from earnings from Apple Inc. (AAPL - Get Report) and Boeing Co. (BA - Get Report) .
  • Apple guided to a relatively strong fiscal second quarter after beating reduced earnings and revenue estimates in its first quarter. The stock rose 6.83%.
  • Boeing soared 6.25% after the aerospace giant smashed Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings estimates.   

Wall Street Overview

The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday afternoon that it was keeping interest rates at current levels while also signaling that the central bank is willing to adjust its balance sheet normalization amid pressure from the White House to slow down the unwinding of its balance sheet. 

The move sent the major indices, which were already performing well, even higher Wednesday. 

Stocks jumped on Wednesday, Jan. 30, as Apple Inc.  (AAPL - Get Report)  and Boeing Co. (BA - Get Report) topped quarterly earnings forecasts, sending waves of relief through world markets rattled by persistent concerns from U.S. companies over slowing growth in China.

Boeing obliterated Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings estimates by more than $1 a share, posting a bottom line of $5.48 a share on revenue of $28.34 billion. Boeing rose 6.25% on Wednesday.

Looking into 2019, Boeing said it sees record commercial airplane deliveries of between 895 and 905 aircraft, while revenue likely will hit a range of $109.5 billion to $111.5 billion, well ahead of the consensus forecast of $106 billion. With margins improving to at least 10.5%, Boeing hinted, earnings should come within a range of $19.90 to $20.10 a share, firmly ahead of Refinitiv's 2019 forecast of $18.30.

And with Apple guiding to a relatively strong March quarter -- traditionally its weakest of the four -- and CEO Tim Cook commenting that U.S.-China trade tensions appeared to be cooling ahead of a key two-day summit in Washington, investors may have cleared a major earnings season hurdle as they await an interest rate decision Wednesday from the Federal Reserve and the release Friday of the U.S. jobs report (on Wednesday, ADP said U.S. companies added 213,000 jobs to private payrolls in January, topping economists' estimates).
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 435 points, or 1.77%, to 25,015, the S&P 500 was up 2.2, and the Nasdaq rose 1.55%.

China's vice premier, Liu He, arrives in Washington on Wednesday for a two-day summit on trade that could unlock months of disagreement over issues such as intellectual property protection and forced technology transfers that have stalled negotiations for several months.

Apple's Cook told CNBC that there was "a bit more optimism in the air in January" with respect to U.S.-China trade relations, adding that he was "encouraged by the comments coming out of both countries."

Apple rose 6.83% on Wednesday after the tech giant company beat reduced earnings and revenue estimates in its fiscal first quarter.

The tech giant reported earnings of $4.18 a share vs. an expected $4.17, while revenue came in at $84.3 billion, above consensus of $83.97 billion. Apple had forecast on Jan. 2 that it expected revenue of about $84 billion, roughly $7 billion less than expected, because of disappointing sales in China.

For the March quarter, Apple said it expects revenue of $55 billion to $59 billion, slightly less than a $58.98 billion consensus.

"While it was disappointing to miss our revenue guidance, we manage Apple for the long term, and this quarter's results demonstrate that the underlying strength of our business runs deep and wide," said Apple CEO Tim Cook. "Our active installed base of devices reached an all-time high of 1.4 billion in the first quarter, growing in each of our geographic segments."

"All in, we believe that while we are not out of the clear just yet, as we have yet to see a resolution on the China trade front, and a strong dollar compounded by a global growth slowdown does represent a near-term risk for all companies operating internationally, we believe this quarter's results and March quarter guidance, compounded by better than expected Services growth will effectively allow the company to reset the narrative and investors to reset their expectations," said Jim Cramer and the Action Alerts PLUS team, which holds Apple in its portfolio.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD - Get Report) rose nearly 20% after the chipmaker reported fourth-quarter earnings that met Wall Street estimates and said 2019 margins and revenue likely would top forecasts, defying investor gloom for the sector following Nvidia Corp.'s (NVDA - Get Report) sales warning earlier this week.

AMD posted adjusted earnings of 8 cents a share, in line with estimates, while revenue of $1.42 billion came in slightly below estimates of $1.44 billion.

However, AMD said graphic and data center chip demand would support 2019 sales, with the company suggesting a "high single digit" growth rate, with an adjusted gross profit margin of around 41%, the highest in eight years.

Alibaba Group Holding Co. (BABA - Get Report) posted stronger-than-expected fiscal third-quarter earnings after a record Singles Day shopping event helped boost profits at Asia's biggest tech company. Shares rose 6.34%.

McDonald's Corp. (MCD - Get Report)   was fell  0.22% Wednesday after the fast food giant reported earnings and revenue that topped analysts' expectations but U.S. comparable-store sales in the U.S. disappointed.

AT&T Inc. (T - Get Report) earned an adjusted 86 cents a share in the fourth quarter, matching analysts' estimates, while revenue of $48 billion came in below forecasts of $48.5 billion and the telecommunications giant added fewer-than-expected wireless customers over the final months of 2018. The stock tumbled 4.33%. 

Shares of eBay Inc. (EBAY - Get Report)  were up 1.16% after the e-commerce company reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that topped analysts' expectations, said it was initiating a new dividend of 14 cents a share and planned to buy back $5 billion of stock in 2019.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT - Get Report) , Facebook Inc. (FB - Get Report)  and PayPal Holdings Inc. (PYPL - Get Report) report earnings After the closing bell Wednesday. The stocks 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.

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