(Reuters) – U.S. stocks jumped on Wednesday, as relief after Apple Inc’s earnings and an upbeat report from Boeing Co eased nerves as investors waited for updates from the Federal Reserve and U.S.-China trade talks.
The iPhone maker’s shares rose 4.3 percent after the company reported a sharp growth in services business and Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said trade tensions between the United States and China were easing.
The report assuaged worries after Apple earlier this month cut its sales forecast for the current quarter on slowing demand in China, whose economy has been dragged down by a trade war with the United States.
Boeing jumped 5.2 percent after the world’s largest planemaker forecast profit and cash flow expectations for the full year well above analysts’ estimates and said it expects to deliver around 900 commercial aircraft in 2019, up from 806 deliveries last year.
“For Apple, there was certainly more focus on the weakness in China and now investors seem more positive as a lot of the bad news had been factored in,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“Positive earnings are definitely encouraging for markets today.”
Stocks have been marred in the past two sessions on fears of a slowdown in China hurting one of the longest U.S. expansions in history and weakening profits, after a series of warnings from U.S. bellwethers.
Though fourth-quarter earnings have largely exceeded Wall Street expectations, helping the S&P 500 gain about 13 percent from December lows, investors worry that the trade dispute could add to a global slowdown as the impact of U.S. corporate tax cuts fade.
Washington and Beijing officials are meeting next door to the White House on Wednesday in the highest-level talks since U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce in their trade war in December.
The Fed is scheduled to release its policy statement at 2 p.m. ET. The central bank is not expected to adjust its policy, but the language in the statement will be scrutinized for signs of Chairman Jerome Powell’s willingness to pause on interest rate hikes.
Fed policymakers have been clear they plan to be “patient” about further tightening in the face of an overseas slowdown and market volatility.
The S&P 500 banks index edged down 0.10 percent.
At 9:54 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 240.03 points, or 0.98 percent, at 24,819.99, the S&P 500 was up 13.87 points, or 0.53 percent, at 2,653.87 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 60.79 points, or 0.86 percent, at 7,089.08.
Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 1.47 percent gain in the technology sector.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc jumped 14 percent after the chipmaker reported record quarterly growth in data center sales and projected 2019 revenue growth above Wall Street estimates.
That helped lift the Philadelphia Semiconductor index by 1.32 percent.
The S&P consumer discretionary index rose 1.2 percent, boosted by a 2.7 percent gain for Amazon.com Inc.
McDonald’s Corp rose 2.6 percent after it beat estimates for quarterly same-store sales, helped by a strong international performance.
Weighing on the communication services index was a 4.7 percent drop in AT&T Inc after the wireless carrier’s quarterly revenue and new wireless subscribers fell short of analysts’ estimates.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.58-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.29-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded nine new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 13 new highs and 10 new lows.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)