Stock Market Today Mid-Morning Updates

On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up by 380 points after yet another steep decline yesterday. Investors are anticipating the Federal Reserve’s press conference about its tightening plans after its two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. This is in the hopes that the Fed will reassure the markets on its outlook for monetary policy. Anticipation over a pullback in Federal Reserve stimulus has left the stock market in a volatile state.

It also sets the stage for the central bank policy-setting meeting this week. Although the Fed has signaled that it will likely raise rates multiple times this year, the first post-pandemic rate increase is not expected this week. Instead, the FOMC policy-setting will outline the higher rates coming in its March meeting. “It really is time for us to begin to move away from those emergency pandemic settings to a more normal level,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress two weeks ago, adding that “2022 will be the year in which we take steps toward normalization.”

Among the Dow Jones leaders, shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) are up 1.24% today while Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is also up by 4.69%. Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Nike (NYSE: NKE) ticked higher on Wednesday as well. Among the Dow financial leaders, Visa (NYSE: V) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) are trading higher at 2.66% and 2.08% respectively.

Shares of electric vehicle (EV) leader Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) are up by 3.06% on Wednesday. Rival EV companies like Rivian (NASDAQ: RIVN) and Lucid Group (NASDAQ: LCID) are also up by 4.45% and 0.28% today. Chinese EV leaders like Li Auto (NASDAQ: LI) and Xpeng Motors (NYSE: XPEV) are also trading higher at 3.26% and 2.34% respectively.

Dow Jones Today: Indicators Could Point To A March Interest Rate Hike

Following the stock market opening on Wednesday, the S&P 500, Dow Jones, and Nasdaq are trading 1.80%, 1.36%, and 2.31% higher. Among exchange-traded funds, the Nasdaq 100 tracker Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) is up by 2.05% on Wednesday, while the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA: SPY) is also up by 1.77%.

The 10-year Treasury yield dipped to around 1.77% early on Wednesday after the benchmark yield topped 1.9% highs since January 2020. With inflation persisting over the last few months, how the Fed plans to further combat it will be the focus of investors today as the central bank releases its policy statement at 2:00 p.m. ET. Chairman Jerome Powell will hold his post-meeting news conference at 2:30 p.m. ET.

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U.S. Auto Sales Expected To Dip In January

Today, consultants J.D. Power and LMC Automotive say that U.S. auto retail sales are expected to dip. This is due to reduced manufacturing from the Omicron variant, supply chain constraints, and global inflation that caused prices to soar amid high demand. They expect retail sales of new vehicles to fall 8.3% to 828,900 units from a year earlier.

The volume of new vehicles being delivered to dealerships in January has been insufficient to meet strong consumer demand, resulting in a significantly diminished sales pace,” said Thomas King, president of the data and analytics division at J.D. Powers. With consumer demand skyrocketing in recent months, new vehicle prices could continue to go up.

Boeing Posts Positive Cash Flow Despite Massive Miss On Earnings Estimates

On the earnings front today, we have Boeing (NYSE: BA) reporting in. To begin with, the aerospace giant posted a loss per share of $7.69 on revenue of $14.8 billion. Now, at face value, some would argue that these figures are less-than-desirable. For some perspective, this is versus Wall Street’s estimates of a loss of $0.42 a share on revenue of $16.59 billion. All of this adds up to make for Boeing’s third annual loss in a row amidst pandemic and production problems. For this quarter, its losses are likely due to Boeing taking a $3.5 billion charge on its 787 Dreamliners. This charge would be from production issues preventing the firm from delivering aircraft for the past 15 months. 

However, there is one positive point from this earnings call. That is, Boeing was able to generate a positive cash flow in its latest quarter. Notably, this is a major milestone for the firm as the last time it did so was before the pandemic. According to Boeing, a key growth driver contributing to this would be the deliveries of its 737 Max airliner. As demand for air travel did pick up over the previous quarter, this is not all that surprising.

According to CEO David Calhoun, the company sees 2021 as a “key rebuilding year.” Following this, Calhoun says, “I am confident that we are well-positioned to accelerate our progress in 2022 and beyond.” The real question now is whether investors should jump on BA stock which is trading lower by 1.28% today.

BA stock chart
Source: TD Ameritrade TOS

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Microsoft Shares Jump On Earnings Beat And Notable Strength In Cloud Business

At the same time, Microsoft seems to be on the other end of the spectrum from Boeing. In its latest quarterly earnings update yesterday, the company saw green across the board. Namely, it raked in a total revenue of $51.73 billion for the quarter, topping estimates of $50.88 billion.

This would indicate a record high for Microsoft alongside it crossing the $50 billion revenue mark for the first time. Also, the leading productivity software firm posted an earnings per share of $2.48, beating forecasts of $2.31. In terms of year-over-year comparisons, revenue and net income increased by 20% and 21% respectively. As a result of all this, MSFT stock is currently trading higher by 4.69% today.

More importantly, according to CFO Amy Hood, the company has and continues to see strength across its core services. Among its top-performing divisions would be its cloud computing arm, Microsoft Azure. The likes of which posted a revenue jump of 46% year-over-year. After considering all of this, investors appear to be keen on MSFT stock now. Even Dan Ives, managing director at Wedbush Securities says, “We’re buyers here all day long,” referring to the company’s shares.

Microsoft (MSFT) earnings
Source: TD Ameritrade

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