Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 closed at record highs Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell on weak earnings reports from Caterpillar (CAT - Get Report) and Boeing (BA - Get Report) .
  • Caterpillar declined after the company posted weaker-than-expected earnings and warned that annual profit would come in at the lower end of guidance. Caterpillar is Real Money's Stock of the Day.
  • Shares of Boeing ( BA - Get Report) fell after the aerospace giant posted a much wider-than-expected second-quarter loss as the grounding of its 737 MAX aircraft hammered the company's bottom line.

Wall Street Overview

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 closed at record highs Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank following disappointing earnings from Wall Street titans Caterpillar (CAT - Get Report) and Boeing (BA - Get Report) .

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 79 points, or 0.29%, to 27,269.97.

The S&P 500 rose 0.47% to 3,019.56, and the Nasdaq advanced 0.85% to 8,321.50. 

Texas Instruments (TXN - Get Report)  , which posted better-than-expected results and an upbeat forecast for the current quarter, and Microchip Technology (MCHP - Get Report) were the Nasdaq's two biggest winners.The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index rose 48.75, or 3.1%, to 1,622.02.

Investors shook off news of a Department of Justice investigation that will focus on Alphabet (GOOGL - Get Report) , Amazon.com  (AMZN - Get Report) , Facebook (FB - Get Report) , and Apple (AAPL - Get Report)  and look at whether the big tech firms have been stifling competition.

"The big technology and internet stocks sold off overnight on the news that the Department of Justice is investigating whether the big tech and internet companies have practiced anti-competitive behavior," LPL Financial Research said in a note. "We continue to favor the technology sector, however, but hold a more cautious view of consumer discretionary (includes Amazon) and communication services (includes Alphabet/Google and Facebook)."

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, meanwhile, said the U.S. Justice Department should investigate Amazon because the online retailing giant has "destroyed the retail industry." Shares of Amazon were up slightly to $2,000.81.

Separately, the Federal Trade Commission said Facebook, which will report earnings after the bell on Wednesday, will pay a record-breaking $5 billion penalty, submit to new restrictions and change its board to settle charges concerning the social media giant's privacy policies. Shares rose 1.1% to $204.66.

Mnuchin told CNBC that he and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead a team that will head to Shanghai on Monday for a resumption of stalled U.S.-China trade talks.

Trade negotiations have been on pause since June, after Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed at the G-20 meeting to resume talks.

Caterpillar (CAT - Get Report) shares were down 4.5% to $131.91 after the industrial equipment maker posted weaker-than-expected second-quarter earnings and warned that full-year profit would come in at the lower end of guidance. Caterpillar, which was leading the Dow's retreat, is Real Money's Stock of the Day.

AT&T ( T - Get Report)  reported second-quarter earnings in line with analysts' forecasts as it continues to focus on both paying down debt and building out its next-generation 5G wireless network for commercial use. Shares were up 3.6% to $33.24.
 
 
Shares of Boeing ( BA - Get Report) fell 3.1% to $361.43 after the aerospace giant posted a much wider-than-expected second-quarter loss as the grounding of its 737 MAX aircraft hammered the company's bottom line. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said during a conference call with investors Wednesday that the company might need to further slow or temporarily halt its 737 Max production.
 
 
United Parcel Service ( UPS - Get Report)  shares rose 8.7% to $114.39 after the shipping giant reported second-quarter earnings that beat analysts' forecasts.
 
  
Shares of Northrop Grumman ( NOC)  rose 5.9% to $342.97 after the company posted stronger-than-expected second quarter earnings and boosted its full-year profit guidance.
 
In economic news, the IHS Markit Flash U.S. Composite PMI Output Index reached 51.6 in July, edging up from 51.5 in June and remaining higher than the three-year low recorded during May. 

Purchases of newly built single-family homes rose 7% from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 646,000 in June, the Commerce Department said, following two straight months of declines.

Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, and Caterpillar are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells these stocks? Learn more now.