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Stock market news live: Stocks pare gains; Facebook tumbles on earnings

U.S. stocks rose and pointed to a second straight day of gains as investors monitored a slew of corporate earnings releases, the latest coronavirus developments and the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision.

4:10 p.m. ET Stocks pare gains into the close, Facebook earnings weigh

Stocks pared gains going into the close and were weighed down further by tumbling shares of Facebook after the company reported earnings, with the S&P 500 turning negative.

Here’s where the major indices were as of 4:10 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -0.09% or -2.84 points to 3,273.40

  • Dow (^DJI): +0.04% or +11.60 points to 28,734.45

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +0.06% or +5.48 points to 9,275.16

  • Crude oil (CL=F):  -0.60% or -0.32 to 53.16 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +0.38% or +6.00 to 1,575.80 per ounce

2:47 p.m. ET: Treasury yields fall across the curve with Powell presser under way

U.S. Treasury yields sank toward session lows after the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision, which left benchmark interest rates unchanged at a band of between 1.5% and 1.75%, and as Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference was under way. In this, Powell suggested the Federal Open Market Committee was “not comfortable with inflation running persistently below” the Fed’s 2% target, a level which has proved evasive in recent years.

The U.S. 10-year yield dipped more than 4 basis points to below 1.6%. The shorter-duration two-year yield declined more than 3 basis points to 1.425%, also closing in on a session low.

2:41 p.m. ET: Stocks hold gains after Fed rate decision

The three major indices remained positive after the Federal Reserve kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged, as had been widely expected. The Industrials and Information Tech sectors led gains in the S&P 500.

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 2:41 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +0.42% or 13.67 points to 3,289.91

  • Dow (^DJI): +0.52% or 150.23 points to 28,873.08

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +0.33% or 51.3 points to 9,320.81

  • Crude oil (CL=F):  +0.22% or $0.12 to $53.36 per barre;

  • Gold (GC=F): +0.17% or $2.60 to $1,577.40 per ounce

2:00 p.m. ET: Fed holds rates steady

The Federal Reserve announced it will hold interest rates steady. With markets expecting the decision, stocks, bonds and currencies were virtually unchanged. However, Bloomberg reports traders trimmed their bets on on 2020 Fed easing.


1:11 p.m. ET: Lyft plans to restructure, cut jobs: NYT

Ride-hailing service Lyft (LYFT) plans to announce a corporate restructuring that would include an undisclosed number of job cuts, the New York Times reports. Immediately following the report, the stock was up as much as 2% and then down as much as 1.5%.

12:30 p.m. ET: Fed seen ‘comfortably on the sidelines’ in 2020

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell removes his glasses as he listens to a question during a news conference after the Federal Open Market Committee meeting, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, in Washington. The Federal Reserve is leaving its benchmark interest rate alone and signaling that it expects to keep low rates unchanged through next year. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The global economy is roiled by uncertainty, but some on Wall Street expect the Fed to spend most of the year sitting on its hands — especially with a general election looming.

Ahead of the central bank’s policy decision around 2pm ET, economists and investors expect the Fed to stay its hand on rates, but may give some hints about what it may do in the face of the coronavirus, and the mysterious liquidity strains bedeviling short-term lending markets.

According to Candice Bangsund, VP and portfolio manager at Fiera Capital, with over $124 billion in assets:

We continue to believe that the Federal Reserve will remain comfortably on the sidelines through 2020.  On the one hand, the global headwinds that were primarily responsible for the Fed’s dovish pivot in 2019 have now largely subsided – with trade tensions de-escalating and recent developments in the UK reducing the likelihood of a disorderly Brexit scenario.  

Moreover, there are some hopeful signs that the factory-driven slump in global growth may finally be finding a floor - though coronavirus fears could temporarily derail this narrative in the near-term.  What’s more, policymakers have emphasized that they will tolerate higher, above-target inflation in order to compensate for years of missing the mark - which when taken together, suggests that the threshold for a move in either direction remains high at this time.

12:00 pm. ET: Trump signs new U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement into law

After over a year of tortured negotiations, President Donald Trump signs the successor agreement to NAFTA into law on Wednesday, sealing a major campaign promise that reworks ties between the North American trade partners.

Stocks are holding on to slim gains at midday. Here’s where the major benchmarks stand:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +0.32% to 3,286.80

  • Dow (^DJI): +0.39% to 28,838

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +0.33% to 9,300.36

  • Crude oil (CL=F):  flat around 53.51 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): flat around 1,570 per ounce

9:31 a.m. ET: Stocks open higher after strong earnings results, Apple hits record high

The three major U.S. stock indices opened higher Wednesday morning after a batch of corporate earnings results came in stronger than expected.

Shares of Apple (AAPL) were among the big advancers, with the stock up nearly 3% around market open to an all-time high. The tech giant reported earnings results Tuesday afternoon that topped consensus estimates, driven by a jump in iPhone revenue on the heels of a strong holiday purchasing season.

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 9:34 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +0.45% or +14.64 points to 3,290.88

  • Dow (^DJI): +0.63% or +181.4 points to 28,904.25

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +0.61% or +57.11 points to 9,327.64

  • Crude oil (CL=F): +0.47% or +0.25 to 53.73 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -0.06% or -1.00 to 1,568.80 per ounce

An Apple store is seen in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 22, 2016. Apple Inc (AAPL) will report its second quarter results April 26. Picture taken April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

9:05 a.m. ET: General Electric, McDonald’s shares point to higher open after earnings results

General Electric (GE) shares popped more than 8% in early trading Wednesday after the company’s 2020 industrial free cash flow guidance topped expectations, suggesting its turnaround plan was picking up steam.

GE sees full-year adjusted industrial free cash flow between $2 billion and $4 billion, above expectations for $2.2 billion. This closely watched metric of efficiency rose to $2.3 billion in 2019, beating the company’s own guidance for $0 to $2 billion. Fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share of 21 cents on revenue of $26.2 billion also topped consensus estimates.

McDonald’s (MCD) delivered adjusted earnings of $1.97 per share on revenue of $5.35 billion, topping expectations on both metrics. Global comparable same store sales increased 5.9%, versus a rise of just 5.3% expected, and U.S. comp sales also topped estimates with a 5.1% rise.

8:30 a.m. ET: U.S. advanced goods trade deficit widens in December

The U.S. trade deficit for goods widened for the first time since August in December, the Commerce Department said in its advanced report Wednesday.

The goods trade deficit increased to $68.3 billion in December from $63 billion the prior month, rising above consensus expectations for an increase to $65 billion, according to Bloomberg consensus data. This comprised a 0.3% increase in exports and 0.2% rise in imports.

The rise in exports was driven in part by a 2.8% increase in capital goods shipped overseas. Imports of industrial supplies including oil rose 9.5% in December.

7:45 a.m. ET: Boeing posts annual loss, rising costs as 737 Max woes continue

Beleaguered aircraft giant Boeing (BA) reported its first annual loss since 1997 as costs mounted in operational disruptions and customer concessions amid the near year-long grounding of the 737 Max.

The company’s full-year GAAP loss per share totaled $1.12, while its core non-GAAP loss per share was $3.47 on revenue of $76.6 billion. In the last three months of the year alone, core losses per share were $2.33 on revenue of $17.9 billion, representing a sales decline of 37% over the same period last year.

Boeing’s expected costs associated with the grounded 737 Max have risen to more than $18 billion, or double what had been previously disclosed. On top of the more than $9 billion in costs already reported, Boeing said it was taking a $2.6 billion pretax write-down to compensate airline customers. It also said its deferred production costs would rise by $2.6 billion, and it reported an additional $4 billion in expected “future abnormal costs” as it eventually re-starts the 737 Max program.

Here’s what newly installed CEO David Calhoun had to say about results, according to a statement:

"We recognize we have a lot of work to do. We are focused on returning the 737 MAX to service safely and restoring the long-standing trust that the Boeing brand represents with the flying public. We are committed to transparency and excellence in everything we do.  Safety will underwrite every decision, every action and every step we take as we move forward. Fortunately, the strength of our overall Boeing portfolio of businesses provides the financial liquidity to follow a thorough and disciplined recovery process."

7:31 a.m. ET: U.S. stock futures point to slightly higher open

Contracts on the three major indices rose during the pre-market session, adding to Tuesday’s gains of more than 1% in each of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.

Positive earnings results from component companies including Apple (AAPL) and McDonald’s (MCD) helped push Dow futures about 100 points higher in early trading.

Here were the main moves during the pre-market session, as of 7:31 a.m. ET:

  • S&P futures (ES=F): 3,290.5, up 12.25 points or 0.37%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 28,808.00, up 98 points or 0.34%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 9,149.75, up 44.5 points or 0.49%

  • Crude oil (CL=F): $53.91 per barrel, up $0.43 or 0.8%

  • Gold (GC=F): $1,570.00 per ounce, up $0.20 or 0.01%

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., November 27, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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