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Stock market news live updates: Stocks rise, tech shares leap after earnings

Emily McCormick
·Reporter
·8 min read
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Stocks pushed higher Wednesday as investors digested a series of corporate earnings results and incrementally more positive news on both the vaccine and stimulus fronts out of Washington.

[Click here to read what’s moving markets heading into Thursday, Feb. 4]

The Dow joined the S&P 500 and Nasdaq in positive territory Wednesday afternoon, shaking off earlier declines as shares of component stock Amgen (AMGN) sank after reporting a disappointing full-year outlook.

The three major indexes ended higher for a second straight session on Tuesday, and the Dow posted its best single-session gain since November. The rally came alongside a precipitous decline in shares of some of the stocks that had been highly popularized on the Reddit forum r/wallstreetbets last week, including GameStop (GME), which more than halved on Tuesday to $90 per share, and AMC Entertainment (AMC), which sank by more than 40%. Both stocks gained slightly intraday on Wednesday.

Shares of mega-cap tech stocks advanced, helping buoy the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Amazon’s stock (AMZN) rose more than 1%, as investors considered the company’s record quarterly results alongside the announcement that CEO Jeff Bezos would be stepping down from his role later this year, with Amazon Web Services chief Andy Jassy set to replace him. And shares of peer Big Tech giant Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) increased more than 7% after reporting fourth-quarter advertising revenue that rebounded strongly from earlier in 2020.

Meanwhile, discussions for additional fiscal stimulus carried on in Washington, D.C. The Senate narrowly voted on Tuesday to open debate for a budget resolution for the 2021 fiscal year, with an eye toward advancing additional coronavirus relief aid with a simple majority instead of the 60 votes needed for most legislation in the chamber.

More upbeat news on the vaccine front also emerged from the Biden administration. The White House is now set to begin shipping COVID-19 vaccines directly to retail pharmacies in addition to continuing with deliveries to states, in a move that will raise the weekly supply of shots by 1 million to 11.5 million.

Still, amid this week’s gains, some strategists have adopted a more cautious view on equities, which have marched higher against a backdrop of rising speculative investing and an ongoing pandemic.

“I’m a bit concerned that we are due for some sort of digestion of gains,” Sam Stovall, CFRA Equity Research Strategist, told Yahoo Finance on Tuesday. However, he maintained his year-end price target of 4,080 for the S&P 500. And most strategists on Wall Street have echoed the view that stocks will ultimately end 2021 higher.

Others also noted that the apparent euphoria in markets may warrant some pause.

“One thing that keeps the rallies healthy is when you have a degree of fear in the market. And when you look at how the activity has moved to this point with Wall Street Bets ... it shows that there is just a lack of concern, a lack of fear that investors of all kinds can essentially move with impunity,” Jeff Yastine, WealthPress senior investment strategist, told Yahoo Finance. “And just my instinct at times like that … is to draw back a bit and say, maybe you shouldn’t get so comfortable.”

On Wednesday, earnings season will roll on, offering possible new catalysts for the markets. Companies including Qualcomm (QCOM), eBay (EBAY), PayPal (PYPL) and GrubHub (GRUB) are scheduled to report quarterly results after market close.

4:03 p.m. ET: Stocks rise for a third straight session after strong earnings, Alphabet reaches record high

Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:03 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +3.84 (+0.10%) to 3,830.15

  • Dow (^DJI): +35.53 (+0.12%) to 30,723.01

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -2.23 (-0.02%) to 13,610.54

  • Crude (CL=F): +$1.09 (+1.99%) to $55.85 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$1.50 (+0.08%) to $1,834.90 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +2.6 bps to yield 1.1310%

12:13 p.m. ET: Stocks little changed as session rolls on

The three major indexes remained mixed in intraday trading, with the Dow still pressured while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq ticked higher.

Here’s where markets were trading shortly after noon in New York:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +9.91 (+0.26%) to 3,836.22

  • Dow (^DJI): -13.91 (-0.05%) to 30,673.57

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +48.5 (+0.35%) to 13,661.44

  • Crude (CL=F): +$1.38 (+2.52%) to $56.14 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$4.70 (+0.26%) to $1,838.10 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.8 bp to yield 1.125%

10:00 a.m. ET: U.S. service sector activity expands more than expected in January: ISM

The Institute for Supply Management’s January services purchasing managers’ index increased more than expected, pointing to a faster pick-up in activity in the beaten-down U.S. services sector.

The January PMI came in at 58.7, up from the 57.7 reported for February, the Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday. This was above consensus economist expectations for a print of 56.7, according to Bloomberg data. Readings above the neutral level of 50 indicate expansion in a sector.

9:34 a.m. ET: Spotify, Amgen shares decline after full-year outlooks overshadow strong 4Q results

Shares of some companies that reported quarterly results before market open declined as the regular trading day began, after reporting disappointing guidance that overshadowed strong fourth-quarter results.

Stockholm-based music streamer Spotify (SPOT) grew fourth-quarter sales 17% to 2.17 billion euros, beating consensus expectations for 2.15 billion euros, according to Bloomberg consensus data. Monthly active users also grew more strongly than expected, rising 27% to 345 million. The company’s loss per share of 66 euro cents was wider than the 57 euro cent-loss expected, however.

Plus, the company forecasted full-year revenue of 9.01 billion euros to 9.41 billion euros for the 2021 fiscal year, missing estimates even on the high end for 9.63 billion euros. The company also said it anticipates monthly active users for 2021 will come in between 407 million and 427 million, topping the median estimate for about 411 million.

Meanwhile, drug-maker Amgen (AMGEN) posted fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $3.81 per share, growing these over last year and beating estimates for $3.34 a share. Revenue of $6.63 billion increased by 7% and topped estimates for $6.55 billion, driven by a 27% increase in sales of the cardiovascular treatment Repatha.

But Amgen’s outlook also came up short for the full-year, with the company foreseeing adjusted earnings of between $16 and $17 per share on revenue of between $25.8 billion and $26.6 billion. The midpoint of this missed consensus estimates for adjusted earnings per share of $17 on revenue of $26.4 billion.

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks open mixed

Here were the main moves in markets shortly after the opening bell:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +12.66 (+0.33%) to 3,838.97

  • Dow (^DJI): -68.00 (-0.22%) to 30,619.48

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +100.44 (+0.73%) to 13,712.25

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.59 (+1.08%) to $55.35 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$5.70 (+0.31%) to $1,839.10 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1 bp to yield 1.117%

8:15 a.m. ET Private payrolls in January beat expectations

U.S. private employers added back far more jobs than expected in January, returning to growth even as the coronavirus pandemic and winter weather exerted pressure on hiring. Private payrolls increased by 174,000 in January, ADP said in its closely watched monthly jobs report on Wednesday. Consensus estimates was for a 70,000 increase, according to Bloomberg data.

7:21 a.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures drift, tech shares gain after earnings

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:21 a.m. ET on Wednesday:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,829.00, up 10.75 points or 0.28%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 30,579.00, down 7 points or 0.02%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,528.25, up 79.25 points or 0.59%

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.34 (+0.62%) to $55.10 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$3.10 (+0.17%) to $1,836.50 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +0.8 bps to yield 1.115%

6:14 p.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures open higher

Here’s where markets were trading Tuesday evening as overnight trading kicked off:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,829.25, up 11 points or 0.29%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 30,607.00, up 21 points or 0.07%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,495.5, up 46.5 points or 0.35%

People play as snow falls in Wall Street during a winter storm on February 1, 2021 in New York City. - A powerful winter storm is set to dump feet of snow along a stretch of the US east coast including New York City on February 1, 2021, after blanketing the nation's capital. The National Weather Service issued storm warnings from Virginia to Maine -- a swathe home to tens of millions of people -- and forecast snowfall of 18 to 24 inches (45-60 centimeters) in southern New York, northeastern New Jersey and parts of southwest Connecticut. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)
People play as snow falls in Wall Street during a winter storm on February 1, 2021 in New York City. - A powerful winter storm is set to dump feet of snow along a stretch of the US east coast including New York City on February 1, 2021, after blanketing the nation's capital. The National Weather Service issued storm warnings from Virginia to Maine -- a swathe home to tens of millions of people -- and forecast snowfall of 18 to 24 inches (45-60 centimeters) in southern New York, northeastern New Jersey and parts of southwest Connecticut. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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