Stocks stepped into a mixed start on Wednesday, as an onslaught of heavyweight earnings reports split the session ahead of the Federal Reserve’s afternoon policy announcement. Google parent Alphabet rallied on earnings, as did Shopify and Advanced Micro Devices. Facebook climbed in its buy range. And on the Dow Jones today, Visa led as Microsoft, Boeing and Amgen lagged after reporting earnings.
The S&P 500 wrestled to a 0.2% gain, just enough to overtake Monday’s record high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sloughed off 135 points, down 0.4%. The Nasdaq Composite flipped a loss into a 0.2% advance on the stock market today, even as Amgen (AMGN), Costar Group (CSGP) and Texas Instruments (TXN) slumped to the bottom of the Nasdaq 100.
IBD Leaderboard stock Alphabet (GOOGL) was the prime mover in early trade, passing a buy point as it climbed 4% to trade high on the Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500. Chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Xilinx (XLNX) were also high in the mix, each up around 2%. Chip stocks in general remained weak, however, with the iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF (SOXX) down 1.3% early as Texas Instruments and Micron Technology (MU) fell.
Among other names rising on earnings, Shopify (SHOP) scrambled 4.8% higher as earnings soared on a $1.3 billion investment gain.
Sharps Compliance (SMED) popped 2%. The advance lifted shares beyond a buy range, above a 15.57 buy point in a nine-week cup base.
Candy maker Mondelez International (MDLZ) rallied 4% on an earnings beat. he jump sent shares back into a buy range above a 60.10 buy point in a 12-week cup base.
Haverty Furniture (HVT) knocked out an early 5.6% gain. The move pointed the stock, which is up more than 51% since the start of the year, toward yet another new high.
Wholesale Inventories Rise; Fed Policy, Biden Speech
March retail inventories declined 1.4%, while wholesale inventories increased 1.4%, the Commerce Department reported. Wholesale inventories were up from a 0.5% gain in February, and above projections for a 0.6% expansion.
Retail inventories were up from a ‘no change’ performance in February.
The U.S. trade deficit widened to $90.6 billion during March. That was up from February’s $86.7 billion trade gap. Imports rose 6.8% for the month. Exports increased by 8.7%.
The Federal Reserve’s policy announcement is set for 2 p.m. ET, followed by a press conference at 2:30 pm ET. On Wednesday evening, President Joe Biden will unveil his tax-and-spending plans in his prime-time address before Congress.
Dow Jones Today: Visa Leads, Boeing Drags
Visa (V) leapt 2.5%, leading the Dow Jones today, while Amgen tanked 6.8% and Microsoft (MSFT) dug a 3.1% ditch — all after reporting earnings late Tuesday. Shares of Boeing (BA) fell 2.9% after reporting a deeper-than-expected first-quarter loss. Apple (AAPL) traded flat, as investors looked toward its fiscal second-quarter report, due out after the close.
Visa’s fiscal second-quarter earnings dipped 1%, while revenue dropped 2% — both beating analyst targets. Visa stock is rising in a buy range above a flat base buy point at 228.33. The buy range runs through 239.75.
Microsoft’s fiscal third-quarter earnings and revenue easily cleared analyst expectations, up 39% and 19%, respectively. Commercial cloud sales increased 33% to $17.7 billion, and a press release noted that digital adoption curves continued to accelerate.
Microsoft’s premarket move suggested a dip back into buy range above a 246.23 buy point in a seven-week flat base. The buy zone runs to 258.54, and shares have traded above that range for the past two sessions.
Boeing has been wrestling with support at its 10-week moving average, toggling above and below a cup-base buy point at 244.18. The stock’s declining 21-day exponential moving average is set to converge with its still-rising 10-week line — similar to circumstances that prefaced the stock’s slips below support in January and July.
Alphabet Earnings, Facebook Gets A Google Lift
Alphabet earnings crushed views with 34% revenue growth, the best since the fourth quarter of 2018. The FANG giant announced $50 billion for stock buybacks. The IBD Leaderboard stock is extended above a flat base buy point at 2,145.24. But it is signaling a possible breakout past a 2,306.22 entry in a three-weeks-tight pattern.
FacebookFB shares climbed 2%, after a Morgan Stanley note raised Alphabet’s price target to 2,575, from 2,350, and said Facebook and Amazon.comAMZN should both get a boost from Alphabet’s positive Google search results for the quarter.
Facebook shares are in a buy range above a cup-with-handle base buy point at 299.81.
Vital Signs: Oil, Copper, Bond Yields, Bitcoin
West Texas Intermediate oil gained 1.2%, approaching $64 a barrel — its highest price since April 20. Prices struck 67.98 on March 8, their highest level since October 2018.
Copper prices backed off 0.7%, holding above $4.45 a pound. Up more than 11% since March 31, prices have now pushed past their February high at $4.30 and are just off their record high at $4.54, set in February 2011.
Stock Market ETF Strategy And How To Invest In The Current Uptrend
Bitcoin prices flattened, trading around the $55,000 mark, according to CoinDesk. The cryptocurrency had dropped to $47,079 on Sunday, after running up to a new high above $64,800 a week ago, ahead of the Coinbase Global (COIN) IPO. Bitcoin is now down about 8% so far in April, but for the year remains up more than 87%, after starting the year just above $29,000.
Bond yields edged higher after a big bounce on Tuesday. The 10-year yield moved above 1.63%, after settling at 1.62% on Tuesday, according to CBOE data. Tuesday’s move showed yields rebounding from a test of their 50-day moving average ahead of the Fed meeting. Yields skirted pre-pandemic levels late in March, climbing to almost 1.76% — the highest level since January 2020.
Dow Jones Today: Nasdaq, Chip ETFs Near Buy Points
As the stock market’s confirmed uptrend remains in strong standing, the Nasdaq Composite continues to play catch up to the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones today, but offers the most interesting chart in the group.
The Dow is up 11% from the beginning of the year, and trading 0.8% below its record high from April 16. The S&P 500 has an 11.4% gain this year, and is just a fraction below its latest record high, set on Monday.
The Nasdaq has a year-to-date gain of 8.6%. It is back above the 14,000 mark, and less than 1% off its Feb. 16 high. The composite chart shows the index above what would be a handle buy point. As a result, a number of Nasdaq tracking funds are trading near buy points. The Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) is holding above its 21-day exponential moving average, and in a buy range above a 338.29 buy point in an eight-week cup base. The buy range runs to 355.20.
The leveraged ProShares Ultra QQQ (QLD) was added to IBD’s SwingTrader service on Thursday, after a rebound from its 21-day line opened a buy range from 131.75 to 134.38. The chart also shows a standard cup-base buy point at 133.06.
Chip industry stocks, a major influence on the Nasdaq, are also turning up some buyable chart patterns among exchange traded funds.
The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) ended Tuesday about 2% below a 257.64 buy point in a 10-week cup-with-handle base. The leveraged Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bull 3X Shares (SOXL) is below a 45.40 buy point in a cup-with-handle base.
Find Alan R. Elliott on Twitter @IBD_Aelliott
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