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Stocks - Wall Street Mixed Early, Reflecting Inconsistent Earnings

Stock MarketsJan 29, 2020 10:23AM ET
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© Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith -- Strong earnings from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Mastercard (NYSE:MA) left a mixed U.S. stock market fractionally higher in early trade on Wednesday, as fears about the spreading coronavirus outbreak – and thoughts about the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting – were briefly put on the backburner.

By 10:15 AM ET (1515 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 60 points, or 0.2%, at 28,783 points, albeit that was off earlier highs. The S&P 500 index and Nasdaq Composite pared earlier gains to be flat on the day.

In large part, that was due to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which rose 1.6% after posting better-than-expected results for its fiscal first quarter after the closing bell on Tuesday. The news still wasn’t quite enough to push it to a new all-time high, but strong sales at its core iPhone division, along with wearables and accessories such as its AirPods ear buds, overshadowed any concerns about possible supply disruptions at its China-based suppliers.

Mastercard fell 0.4% despite posting a 12% increase in gross dollar volume for purchases made with its cards over the holiday period. Sales rose a particularly strong 29% in Europe, despite the sustained weakness of domestic consumption in key markets.

Fallen giants Boeing (NYSE:BA) and General Electric (NYSE:GE) also contributed to the advance. Boeing stock rose 2.6% after saying it took a total of $19 billion in charges due to the 737 MAX affair last year. While they pushed the compay to its worst annual result in over two decades, it was still less than some analysts had estimated.

For its part, GE stock rose 9.8% to its highest since October after the company announced a big increase in industrial cash flow at the end of the year. That outweighed a forecast that suggested cash flow and underlying earnings will fall in 2020, even though operating margins are set to expand further.

One underperformer was Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), which unveiled a medium-term target of a 14% return on tangible equity at its first-ever investor day. That’s some way below JPMorgan’s target of 17% and only just in line with Morgan Stanley’s 13%-15%. Goldman Sachs stock was down 0.7%.

Other stocks struggling included chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) and Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX). AMD stock fell 7.8% to an eight-week low after disappointing fourth-quarter sales at the unit that makes chips for data centers. Investors have been betting on AMD challenging Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) for supremacy in that lucrative and fast-growing business. Meanwhile, Xilinx stock fell 9.4% after its quarterly update exposed the damage to it from U.S. government restrictions on sales to Huawei, previously one of Xilinx’s biggest customers.

Elsewhere, futures on the dollar index breached 98.00 for the first time since early December but retreated slightly to 97.895, up less than 0.1% on the day. U.S. crude oil futures fell 0.4% to $53.28 while gold futures edged 0.1% higher to $1,571.75 a troy ounce.

Stocks - Wall Street Mixed Early, Reflecting Inconsistent Earnings

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Comments (2)
TW TW Jan 29, 2020 11:22AM ET
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Good to know the Wall Street bankers are so powerful that they can fight everything in the world, even the deadly virus in China!!! :)  Keep up the good work and make every impossible thing possible, GREAT AMERICAN BANKERS !!!
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Me comment Jan 29, 2020 10:42AM ET
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Great headline, so is it mixed earnings, the virus, impeachment, Trump tweets or Kobe's death that is driving the markets. These click bait writer have absolutely no idea why the markets move the way they do.
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