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Fed meeting, Tesla earnings — What you need to know in markets on Wednesday

Myles Udland
·Markets Reporter

After three days, tech stocks got a bid.

On Tuesday, all three major indexes gained ground with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the way, adding 0.55%, while the Dow and S&P 500 both gained around 0.4%.

And though the end of the month was a bit messy, July was ultimately the best month for the stock market since January, with the S&P 500 gaining 3.6%. Tech stocks were still up more than 2% for the month.

On Wednesday, investors will have strong earnings news from Apple (AAPL) to help markets start August on the right foot, as the world’s largest company by market cap reported earnings and revenue that topped expectations after the close on Tuesday.

Apple reported adjusted earnings per share of $2.34 on revenue of $53.3 billion in its fiscal third quarter as the company also raised its revenue outlook for the current quarter, now forecasting $60 billion-$62 billion in sales this quarter against expectations for $59.5 billion.

Sales of iPhones during Apple’s third quarter slightly missed expectations, however, with the company selling 41.3 million handsets against expectations for 41.5 million.

In after-hours trading on Tuesday, Apple shares were up as much as 3.5% to north of $197 per share, an all-time high for the stock.

Sales of Apple’s iPhone missed expectations in its latest quarter but earnings and revenue beat investors’ expectations. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
Sales of Apple’s iPhone missed expectations in its latest quarter but earnings and revenue beat investors’ expectations. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Wednesday’s biggest earnings report will also come after the market close, when Tesla (TSLA) is set to report results for the second quarter. This report comes after what has been a busy few months for the company.

In late June, Tesla hit its much-publicized target of producing 5,000 Model 3 sedans, though CEO Elon Musk’s behavior on the company’s last earnings call and on Twitter since then has garnered more headlines than the company’s actual performance.

Other members of the S&P 500 set to report earnings Wednesday include Humana (HUM), TripAdvisor (TRIP), Molson Coors (TAP), Garmin (GRMN), Prudential (PRU), Wynn Resorts (WYNN), MetLife (MET), and Allstate (ALL).

The Fed and economic calendar

And on the economic data side, the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary policy announcement, due out at 2:00 p.m. ET, will be the highlight. No changes are expected to the Fed’s current policy, which pegs its benchmark interest rate target range at 1.75%-2%, and Fed Chair Jay Powell will not take questions after the announcement. The Fed is expected to raise rates at its next meeting in September.

The economic calendar will also be busy on Wednesday as investors get a look back at July. In the morning, ADP will release its July report on private payroll growth, which economists expect to show 186,000 private sector jobs created in July. The July report on auto sales and the July reports on manufacturing activity from the Institute of Supply Management and Markit Economics also will be released.

Investors will pay particular attention to the surveys for any impact tariffs are having on the sector as well as commentary on how pricing pressures are impacting the goods-producing side of the economy.

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland