Wall Street set to start the new month in the green

WEDNESDAY MARKETS

U.S. stock futures were higher this morning, on the first day of February. While both posted January gains, the Dow was riding a three-session losing streak, and the S&P 500 was on a four-session skid. (CNBC)

Ahead of Friday's government employment report, ADP released its January private payrolls data this morning. U.S. companies added 246,000 positions last month, far exceeding expectations. (CNBC)

The Fed ends its two-day meeting with a policy statement at 2 p.m. ET. No hike in interest rates is expected, but central bankers in December projected three rate increases for 2017. (CNBC)

TECH EARNINGS

Apple (AAPL) was sharply higher in premarket trading after quarterly earnings and revenue easily beat expectations on stronger than expected demand for the iPhone 7. However, Apple did warn on outlook. (CNBC)

Apple's enormous cash hoard grew to nearly $246.1 billion in the latest quarter. If Apple's cash were its own public company, it would be the 13th largest in the world. (CNBC)

Facebook (FB) is scheduled to report earnings after the closing bell on Wall Street this afternoon. Expectations call for a $1.31 per share profit on revenue of $8.5 billion. (CNBC)

Facebook is said to be developing an app for television set-top boxes, including Apple TV, giving the social network another foothold to help monetize its video content. (WSJ)


THE FIRST 100 DAYS

After a successful procedural vote on Monday, the full Senate is expected to vote today on the confirmation of former Exxon (XOM) chief Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. (USA Today)

President Donald Trump has nominated conservative judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, with Democrats immediately questioning his record on women's issues and corporate interests. (CNBC & NBC News)

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., one of the nation's most prominent evangelical Christian leaders, has been asked to head a White House task force on reforming the U.S. higher education system. (NBC News)

Apple CEO Tim Cook told The Wall Street Journal that the tech giant is considering legal action against the Trump administration to challenge the president's executive order on immigration.

Hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio said he's increasingly concerned Trump's "populist" policies could hurt the global economy. Dalio had told CNBC in Davos in January "there's an optimistic possibility" about Trump.

In documents related to his 2011 New Zealand citizenship, Silicon Valley billionaire and Trump advisor Peter Thiel said, "no other country ... aligns more with my view of the future." (NY Times)

After Trump paved the way in an executive order last week, the Dakota Access pipeline is expected to get a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allow the $3.7 billion project to be completed. (NBC News)

Saudi Arabia may increase its oil investments in the United States due to a more fossil fuel-oriented energy policy by the Trump administration, the kingdom's energy minister told the BBC in an interview.

A sharp plunge in applications for government-insured home loans as a result of Trump policy was behind the 3.2 percent drop in overall mortgage volume last week. Refis fell a smaller 1 percent. (CNBC)

CORPORATE NEWS

A new round of crash tests highlights areas where Tesla's (TSLA) Model S and BMW i3 failed to score as high as other electric vehicles rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (CNBC)

Volkswagen (VLKAY) has agreed to pay at least $1.26 billion to either fix or buy back about 80,000 3.0 liter diesel-engine vehicles, in the latest settlement involving its diesel emissions scandal. (Reuters)

Amazon (AMZN) will invest about $1.5 billion in an air cargo hub in northern Kentucky, planning to employ 2,000 people and eventually house 40 Amazon Prime Air planes there. (Recode)


BY THE NUMBERS

In addition to the ADP jobs data, the January ISM manufacturing index and December construction spending are out 10 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, the Energy Department issues its weekly oil inventories report at 10:30 a.m. ET.

U.S. automakers release their January sales figures throughout the morning, with Edmunds.com predicting a 0.7 percent decline for last month compared to January 2016.

Invitation Homes (INVH) begin trading today on the NYSE, after pricing its IPO at $20 per share, within the expected range. The real estate investment trust raised $1.54 billion in the offering.


STOCKS TO WATCH

Arconic (ARNC) slightly missed estimates on quarterly earnings, while revenue matched forecasts. The engineered parts maker, separated from Aloca (AA), in November, warned on outlook. Activist Elliott Management is trying to force out CEO Klaus Kleinfeld.

Electronic Arts (EA) earned an adjusted $2.58 per share for its latest quarter, exceeding estimates. Revenue also beat forecasts, helped by strong sales of the video game maker's "Battlefield 1."

AMD (AMD) posted a smaller than expected fourth quarter loss, better than expected revenue, and a rosier sales forecast for the current quarter, helped by increased demand for its graphics chips used in gaming consoles.

Match Group (MTCH), behind its namesake online dating service as well as Tinder, was under pressure in premarket trading, after reporting quarterly revenue that fell below forecasts.

The acquisition of Rite Aid (RAD) by Walgreens (WBA) is being opposed by a union representing about 6,000 Rite Aid workers. The union said the two drugstore chains don't go far enough to address antitrust concerns.

Medtronic (MDT) is reportedly working with advisors to sell its medical supplies business, according to Bloomberg report. The unit could be worth $5 billion in a sale, according to analysts.


WATERCOOLER

Johnny Depp's former business managers are countersuing the actor, claiming a $2 million per month lavish lifestyle caused his recent financial troubles, and the star ignored their repeated warnings. (AP)