Wednesday July 28th


S&P 500 is flat ahead of key Fed decision, Boeing shares jump

U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors parsed through a slew of corporate results while awaiting a key policy update from the Federal Reserve. The broad equity benchmark traded near the flatline and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.7%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 80 points. The major averages pulled back from their records in the previous session, snapping a five-day winning streak. Boeing shares climbed about 5% after the manufacturer posted its first profit since the third quarter of 2019 thanks to a rebound in aircraft deliveries. Pfizer shares rose about 2% after the company reported stronger-than-expected earnings and raised its 2021 sales forecast for the Covid vaccine. Investors also digested a host of quarterly results from megacap tech names. Google-parent Alphabet popped more than 4% after the tech giant posted quarterly results, registering a 69% jump in advertising revenue. Apple shares dipped 0.4% after CEO Tim Cook warned that silicon “supply constraints” will affect sales the iPhone as well as the iPad. The company did beat top- and bottom-line estimates and said iPhone sales surged 50% year over year. Microsoft saw its shares rise 1% after reporting an earnings beat despite a dip in revenue from its Windows division. The Fed will conclude its two-day meeting on monetary policy Wednesday. The Federal Open Market Committee is set to release a statement at 2 p.m. ET followed by a press conference with Chairman Jerome Powell. Investors are eager to get an update on the central bank’s plans to start trimming its bond purchases, the first major step in tightening policy. Many Fed watchers expect that the spreading coronavirus delta variant will make the central bank sound more cautious on its economic outlook. “We believe the Fed really wants to start to turn the corner on all of this excess accommodation but remains cautious on making sudden movements given how markets hang on nearly every word they say or action they take,” said George Goncalves, head of U.S. macro strategy at MUFG. The busiest week of earnings continues on Wednesday  with Qualcomm, Facebook, Ford and PayPal among the names on deck. Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported quarterly results thus far, 89% have topped earnings estimates, while 86% have exceeded revenue expectations, according to data from Refinitiv. The major averages are still on track to end the month higher. The S&P is up 2.4% for July, while the Nasdaq Composite and Dow have gained 1.1% and 1.6%, respectively. Shares in Asia-Pacific were mostly lower on Wednesday, with stocks in Hong Kong seeing a partial bounce back from a two-day rout. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong closed 1.54% higher at 25,473.88. That followed a more than 8% decline over two days earlier this week triggered by regulatory fears over sectors such as technology and private education. Mainland Chinese stocks closed lower. The Shanghai composite fell 0.58% to 3,361.59 while the Shenzhen component declined fractionally to 14,086.42. South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.13% higher at 3,236.86. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dropped 1.39% to close at 27,581.66 while the Topix index slipped 0.95% to finish the trading day at 1,919.65. Oil prices climbed on Wednesday after industry data showed U.S. crude and product inventories fell more sharply than expected last week, reinforcing expectations that demand will outstrip supply growth even amid a surge in Covid-19 cases. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 48 cents, or 0.7%, to $72.13 a barrel, reversing Tuesday’s 0.4% decline. Brent crude futures rose 34 cents, or 0.5%, to $74.82 a barrel, after shedding 2 cents on Tuesday in the first decline in six days. Gold prices held steady near the key $1,800 per ounce level on Wednesday as investors held back from making large bets ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy decision due later in the day. The Fed’s policy statement is due at 1800 GMT on Wednesday, followed by a news conference by Chairman Jerome Powell. Spot gold was little changed at $1,796.56 per ounce, as of 8:03 a.m. ET. U.S. gold futures eased 0.3% to $1,794.40.