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Stocks - Wall Street Inches Forward Ahead of Rate Cut Expectations

Investing.com – Wall Street was slightly higher on Wednesday ahead of a widely-anticipated Federal Reserve rate cut later in the day.

A reduction of at least a quarter-point at 2:00 PM ET (18:00 GMT) is priced in, with investors focused on Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s press conference a half-hour later for clues on further easing.

"It's Fed day and investors will ponder the language of the communique as a 25 basis-point cut is already expected," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

The Dow rose 70 points or 0.3% by 9:41 AM ET (13:41 GMT), while the S&P 500 was up 1 point or 0.1% and the Nasdaq composite gained 15 points or 0.2%.

Among the prominent gainers, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose 5% to a 2019 high after its earnings beat estimates due to strong performance from its non-iPhone businesses. Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) gained 7.9% after strong fiscal first-quarter results, while General Electric (NYSE:GE) inched up 0.9% after reporting an improved outlook for cash flow.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) was up 1.1%, while Beyond Meat (NASDAQ:BYND) rallied 3.3%, putting a quick end to the selling seen on Tuesday when it announced its intention to sell another 3.25 million shares.

Elsewhere, Spotify (NYSE:SPOT) slumped 4.1% after posting a wider-than-expected loss that was the result of growth in paid subscribers falling short of forecasts. Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) declined 8.1% after a profit warning, which itself came on the back of another cautious update from industry giant Samsung (KS:005930) overnight. Others in the sector fell in sympathy, with Micron (NASDAQ:MU) down 2.5% and NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) down 1.9%.

In commodities, crude oil rose 0.5% to $58.34 a barrel while gold futures gained 0.1% to $1,431.40 a troy ounce. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was broadly flat at 97.822.

-Reuters contributed to this report.

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