Stocks opened broadly higher on upbeat results from key U.S. companies as Wall Street awaits the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest action on interest rates and the opening of trade talks between the U.S. and China.
Apple gained ground after investors brushed off a slide in iPhone sales. Boeing soared as it reaps gains from higher airplane sales and lucrative government contracts. Health insurer Anthem rose on an upbeat outlook for the year. Those companies helped push each of their respective sectors higher.
The upbeat earnings are helping to lift the market after two days of losses and come as traders are watching to see what the Federal Reserve says about its interest rate policies and the economy. The Fed is expected leave rates unchanged, but more importantly, investor’s hope to hear that the pause in rate hikes will last.
Meanwhile, trade talks that opened Wednesday between the U.S. and China will loom over the market for the remainder of the week. The high-level talks are aimed at settling a monthslong trade war that has raised fears of slower economic growth. Industrial and technology companies have warned about slowing sales because of the trade impasse.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 13 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,653 as of 9:49 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 227 points, or 0.9 percent, to 24,808. The Nasdaq composite rose or 60 points, or 0.9 percent, to 7,088.
OVERSEAS: France’s CAC 40 rose 0.8 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 1.3 percent. Germany’s DAX fell 0.2 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.5 percent. South Korea’s Kospi rose 1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.4 percent.
APPLE: The technology giant rose 3.8 percent to $160.63 after their latest results met Wall Street’s diminished expectations. The company jolted the market when it warned earlier this month that it would miss its own revenue projections for the first time in 15 years. A 15 percent drop in iPhone sales dragged down revenue and profit and the company gave a soft outlook for the latest quarter.
FLYING HIGH: Boeing surged 6.3 percent to $187.15 after the company delivered more planes and racked up a significant amount of government contracts during the fourth quarter. Revenue surged 14 percent as the company delivered more commercial and military planes. Profit and revenue topped expectations.
HEALTHY OUTLOOK: Anthem, the nation’s second-largest health insurer, soared 9.5 percent to $299.58 on an upbeat forecast for 2019. It said adjusted earnings in the new year are expected to be better than $19 per share, or about 8 percent higher than Wall Street had been expecting.
The company is working to boost its prescription benefits business, IngenioRx, which the company is running with help from CVS Health Corp. Anthem runs Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in several states, including big markets like California, New York and Ohio. It covers nearly 40 million people.
ORDERS UP: McDonald’s jumped 2.5 percent to $186.75 after reporting solid results, which the company attributed to strong global growth in sales. In its key U.S. market, the world’s largest hamburger chain reported a 2.3 percent increase in sales.
FED MEETING: Investors will be closing watching the Federal Reserve, which wraps up a two-day policy meeting Wednesday. Although the Fed is expected to leave its short-term interest rate unchanged, the nuances of a press conference by Chairman Jerome Powell will be closely watched.
CHINA-U.S. TRADE: American and Chinese officials will begin two days of trade talks in Washington. President Donald Trump will reportedly meet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in an attempt to move negotiations forward. But the Justice Department’s charges against Chinese tech giant Huawei, its subsidiaries and a top company executive may be a hurdle. China has urged U.S. authorities to end what it called an “unreasonable crackdown” against Huawei, which has been accused of stealing technology and violating sanctions on Iran.
GROWTH FEARS: The clouds of slower economic growth darkened over Europe, as the continent’s largest economy cut its forecast for 2019.
Germany now expects 1 percent growth instead of 1.8 percent growth. It posted 1.5 percent growth in 2018 and 2.2 percent growth in 2017. It cited trade issues and Britain’s so-far tumultuous exit from the European Union as key reasons for the cut forecast.
ENERGY: U.S. crude oil rose 1.3 percent to 54.02 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 1 percent to 61.83 in London.