The stock market surged higher on Wednesday, buoyed first by high-profile earnings reports and then lifted further by positive news from the Federal Reserve. The Dow finished the day up more than 400 points, crossing the 25,000 level once again, as investors were pleased with Fed Chairman Jay Powell's discussion of the likely pace of interest rate movements and reductions in the size of the central bank's balance sheet. Many stocks outperformed the broader market's roughly 1.5% to 2% gains, and Boeing (NYSE: BA), Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD), and Cleveland-Cliffs (NYSE: CLF) were among the top performers. Here's why they did so well.
Boeing flies higher
Shares of Dow component Boeing soared 6% in the wake of the aerospace giant's fourth-quarter financial report. Boeing said that 2018 full-year sales climbed above the $100 billion mark, with a nearly 50% gain in core operating earnings pointing to the success that the aircraft manufacturer has had in meeting demand from both commercial and defense customers. CEO Dennis Muilenburg highlighted Boeing's ongoing mission to build up production and development programs while emphasizing productivity, quality, and safety, and upbeat views for how 2019 will go financially helped give shareholders the confidence they wanted coming into the new year.
Image source: Boeing.
AMD sees better times ahead
Advanced Micro Devices saw its stock price rise 20% after the company reported its fourth-quarter financial results. The chipmaker's 6% growth in sales was a bit less than most investors had expected to see, but AMD's bottom line looked healthier, with margin improvement helping to push earnings upward. More importantly, although the company has encountered some of the same headwinds that caused rival NVIDIA's stock to plunge recently, AMD thinks that it won't have a longer-term impact on full-year 2019 revenue growth. That reassured investors greatly, and if it holds up, it would signal a potential new competitive advantage for AMD over its peers.
Cleveland-Cliffs fills the iron-ore vacuum
Finally, shares of Cleveland-Cliffs jumped 18%. The iron-ore producer got a boost along with most of the rest of its industry on news that Brazilian mining giant Vale would cut production of iron ore in the aftermath of a recent catastrophic accident. The breach of a tailings dam in southwestern Brazil caused dozens of deaths, and Vale said that it will temporarily halt production at all facilities that rely on similar dams. With a market disruption that could potentially last a long time, investors hope that Cleveland-Cliffs will be asked to fill the void in the market -- and benefit from stronger iron ore prices in the interim.
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