Markets

Stock market live updates Wednesday: Rally fades away, Fed keeps rates unchanged, Apple stays strong

VIDEO5:1805:18
Apple easily beats on revenue and earnings—What 5 experts are watching now

This is a live blog. Check back for updates.

4:00 pm: Stocks end the day little changed

After a Fed decision and bang-up Apple earnings, stocks still managed to close the day just little changed. Investors' attention turns to the 8:30 am ET GDP report on Thursday. -Melloy

3:19 pm: Stocks give up most of their gains for the day

Stocks have drifted lower post-Fed decision and amid the press conference with chief Jerome Powell, though it doesn't appear to be anything he said that has caused the pullback. The Dow is up just 52 points after being up as much as 221 points shortly after the open. 3M, Disney and Pfizer are among the noteworthy names in the red. The S&P 500 was unchanged. Apple remains higher by 2.9% however. -Melloy

3:06 pm: Rate cut could happen if coronavirus fears persist

"While no move on rates today was expected, a worsening of the coronavirus outbreak will quickly render the March FOMC meeting as ripe for the next potential rate cut," said Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO and chief strategist of Quill Intelligence. "Rate cuts have been repriced into the markets in the last week, thanks to uncertainty over the virus. Even the Federal Reserve is keeping an eye on the coronavirus developments out of China." —Cox

2:49 pm: 10-year breaks below 1.6%

The 10-year Treasury yield traded below 1.6% as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave a news conference after the central bank kept rates unchanged. In a statement, the Fed noted inflation remained below its 2% target. The 2-year rate also fell to 1.42%. The gap between the three-month and 10-year Treasury yields narrowed to just three basis points Wednesday. —Imbert

2:28 pm Don't expect big market reaction to Powell

"This meeting is a placeholder," said Drew Matus, chief market strategist at MetLife Investment Management. "They're content and there's no reason for them to be aggressive in making a comment on how they're doing," said Matus. He expects the Fed to discuss what it will do with its balance sheet expansion in March, since it has said it would continue its T-bill purchases until second quarter. He said Chairman Jerome Powell could be asked about whether the Fed would consider a review like the European Central Bank announced last week. Powell could say it's studying how it deals with inflation. "It's a pretty good time to be Fed chairman. They don't have too much to be concerned about. They have to be concerned about how the situation in China is going to affect the global growth story, but it's too early for them to say much about that." —Domm

2:25 pm: Rates on hold, bullish for stocks

The Federal Reserve just kept interest rates unchanged, boosting the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which traded more than 150 points higher. Meeting market expectations, the Fed said it will hold its benchmark funds rate between 1.5% to 1.75%. Since 1983, the S&P 500 has gained an average of 7% six months after the central bank left its benchmark rate steady, according to Fidelity Investments. This outpaces the average six month returns of when rates were hiked or lowered. –Fitzgerald

2:21 pm: Stocks are higher after Fed decision

The major Wall Street averages were higher after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged, a decision that was widely anticipated. The Dow was up more than 150 points, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each traded about 0.4% higher. The central bank also noted the U.S. economy is growing at a "moderate rate." However, the Fed noted consumer spending was "moderate," a slight downgrade from policymakers' view last month. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to deliver a news conference at 2:30 p.m. For more on the Fed, click here. —Imbert

1:03 pm Stocks rise heading into Fed announcement

Stocks were higher about an hour ahead of the Federal Reserve's latest decision on monetary policy. The Dow rose more than 100 points as Apple hit record highs. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were both up by about 0.3%. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 1.61%, pushing prices higher. The Fed is largely expected to keep rates unchanged. However, Wall Street will look for clues about where rates are going in the future. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is also scheduled to hold a news conference at 2:30 p.m., 30 minutes after the central bank makes its announcement. —Imbert

12:05 pm: Fourth-quarter GDP growth still a moving target

Forecasts for fourth-quarter GDP growth span a fairly wide range between 1.4% and 2.5% annually, and that could make for some volatility around the official reading when it is released Thursday. The median forecast for Q4 GDP growth is 2.1% in the CNBC/Moody's Analytics Rapid Update survey of economists. JPMorgan economists, meanwhile, cut their forecast to 1.4% Wednesday based on trade and inventory data. They had raised it slightly Tuesday to 1.7% after durable goods data. Jonathan Millar, U.S. economist at Barclays expects 2% growth, and he says one of the issues forecasters are facing is the impact of volatile oil prices, which rose most of the fourth quarter. "One thing to keep an eye on is inventories. Inventory data can be complicated at times when oil prices are moving around a lot. It's an accounting thing, when there's a change in the valuation of inventories," he said. "The book values reported by firms may understate the amount inventories are going up. The stuff that's flowing in costs more than the stuff that's flowing out. That distorts the numbers." — Domm

11:56 am: A third of the S&P 500 is still in correction territory

The major averages may be vying for their second straight daily gain, but the picture underneath the surface is still worrisome. About 33% of all S&P 500 stocks are in correction, meaning they are down at least 10% from their 52-week highs. Las Vegas Sands, Deere, Delta and Netflix are among those stocks. Some are in worse shape. Twitter, Gap, Macy's and American Airlines are in a bear market, or down at least 20% from their 52-week highs. —Imbert, Francolla

11:48 am: Stocks at midday - Apple leads stocks higher, but major indexes off their highs

Stocks were higher around midday as Apple led a slew of companies that reported better-than-expected earnings. The tech giant's stock advanced more than 2% and hit a record. However, the major averages were well below their highs of the day. The Dow is up about 110 points after jumping more than 200 points earlier in the day. There is also a Fed policy announcement scheduled for 2 p.m., followed by a news conference with Chairman Jerome Powell. —Imbert

11:45 am: Dow leading the DJIA

Shares of Dow are up roughly 5% after the company beat earnings expectations on the top and bottom lines. The stock is the best performer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is up more than 100 points. The chemical and materials company posted an adjusted earnings per share of 78 cents for its fourth quarter and $10.204 billion in revenue. Analysts expected 74 cents in earnings per share and $10.071 billion in revenue, according to Refinitiv. Revenue declined 15% compared with the same quarter the previous year, but the company said its cash provided by operating activities rose by $1.37 billion. -Pound

11:43 am: Penn National Gaming jumps on stake in Barstool Sports

Shares of Penn National Gaming soared 12% after the casino company said it is buying a 36% stake in media company Barstool Sports, which was founded in 2003 as a sports blog in Boston. Penn National will pay about $163 million for an exclusive gaming partnership with Barstool for up to 40 years and have the sole right to Barstool's brand for betting and casino products. The deal, which values Barstool around $450 million, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020. "This opportunity is a dream of mine and why I started Barstool Sports in the first place," Barstool founder Dave Portnoy said in a company release. -Fitzgerald

11:41 am: Starbucks drops on coronavirus warning

Shares of Starbucks slid 2.5% as investors focused on its warning that the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak could "materially affect" its fiscal 2020 results. Starbucks has closed more than half of its Chinese locations as the country battles the spread of the virus. Executives said the Chinese locations that are still open have seen sales slow down, compared to historical numbers.—Li

10:28 am: Cramer says its 'stupid and dumb as wood' to think Apple isn't innovating

CNBC's Jim Cramer praised Tim Cook and Apple on "Squawk on the Street" following the tech giant's strong earnings report. Cramer said the success of the iPhone 11 is proof that the company is still making products that consumers love.
"No one thought the phone was going to be the driver, because no one thought there was anything new about the [iPhone] 11; because everyone thinks that Tim Cook has never come up with anything that is really special," Cramer said. "The idea that the company's best times are behind them is stupid and dumb as wood." —Pound

10:08 am: Stocks lose steam as Apple backs off from record highs, Fed meeting ahead

The major stock averages gave back most of their earlier gains as Apple shares slipped from record highs set earlier in the day. The Dow — which rose more than 200 points — is up just 31 points while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are chopping around the flatline. Apple is up 1.4% after jumping 3% to start off the session. Wall Street was also looking ahead to the latest monetary policy announcement at 2 p.m.

9:50 am: Apple hits record high

Apple hit an all-time high of $327.25 per share in morning trading on Wednesday. The technology company is coming off of a huge earnings beat where strength in the iPhone sales drove record revenues. "When we upgraded the stock last summer, we didn't expect iPhone to be a catalyst this year," Raymond James analyst Chris Caso said in a note to clients. Apple's stock is up 1.9%. –Fitzgerald

9:48 am: General Electric rallies 7% as Q4 results hint at Culp's turnaround prowess

General Electric rose more than 7% following the company's better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings report. Earnings per share of 21 cents beat analyst projections of 18 cents, but investors were further elated by GE's 2019 industrial free cash flow of $2.3 billion. The figure, a measure of efficiency that had disappointed for consecutive prior quarters, topped the company's own guidance. For Larry Culp, the Danaher veteran who took over as GE's chief executive in 2018, the results suggested the company's turnaround efforts are starting to bear success. "We met or exceeded our full-year financial targets and are on a positive trajectory for 2020," Culp said in a statement. — Franck

9:46 am: Bank of America upgrades GE to buy

The firm raised its rating of GE shares to buy from neutral, after the company reported fourth-quarter results that gave Bank of America "more confidence" in GE's performance moving forward. Bank of America also raised its GE price target to $16 a share from $12 a share – about 27% above current levels. —Sheetz

9:42 am: Goldman Sachs rises after the bank gives higher financial targets

Shares of Goldman Sachs climb 0.7% after the bank released new financial targets for higher returns at its first-ever investor day. The company said Wednesday return on tangible common shareholders' equity will exceed 14% within three years. Last year, the firm posted ROTE of 10.6%, brought down in part by $1.24 billion in legal costs.—Li

9:33 am: Dow jumps 200 points

The Dow jumped 200 points shortly after the open, bringing its two-day gain to nearly 400 points. That nearly makes back the 454-point drop on Monday due to coronavirus fears. Dow, Boeing, Apple and Goldman Sachs are the biggest gainers in the Dow. There's a lot of green on the board with advancers outpacing decliners by just about 3-to-1 on the NYSE. Investors are choosing to focus on some tangible better-than-expected results, rather than uncertain impact of the virus on the global economy. —Melloy

9:14 am: L Brands soars 12% after report says CEO Wexner in talks to step down

L Brands rose more than 12% before the opening bell after the Wall Street Journal reported that billionaire founder Leslie Wexner is in talks to step down as CEO and sell the Victoria's Secret brand. Wexner's history with accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein had in recent months made investors cautious about the company's ambitions to spin off its Victoria's Secret business late last year.The company is aiming to reach a decision on the potential sale and decide succession plans in coming weeks, the Journal reported. — Franck

9:09 am: Boeing shares up 3% in premarket despite dismal Q4 results

Boeing shares are up 3% in premarket trading as traders appeared to bet it couldn't get any worse for the embattled aircraft manufacturer. The move up came despite higher costs and its first annual loss in more than two decades. The company said it lost $636 million in 2019, its first annual loss since 1997 and well short of the $10.46 billion in 2018, before a second crash of its best-selling 737 Max plane. Boeing also said its bill associated with the 737 Max crisis has risen to $18.6 billion, a combination of expected compensation to airlines whose fleets have been grounded as well as "abnormal production costs." — Franck

8:52 am: Facebook jumps on earnings optimism from Raymond James

Shares of Facebook are up 1.5% in premarket trading following an upgrade to strong buy from outperform from Raymond James. The firm is optimistic that the social media giant will top Wall Street's estimates for earnings after the bell on Wednesday. Analysts polled by FactSet expect Facebook to report earnings per share of $2.53, while Raymond James expects earnings of $2.73 per share. The firm said Facebook has less advertising related headwinds than expected. Raymond James also raised its price target to $270 per share from $230 per share. -Fitzgerald

8:50 am: GE surges 7% after beating Q4 expectations

General Electric shares rose 7% after the embattled industrial conglomerate reported fourth-quarter results that were stronger overall than analysts expected. Additionally, while GE's forecast for 2020 earnings was below what Wall Street expected, its guidance for the closely-watched metric of industrial free cash flow was higher than anticipated. —Sheetz

8:37 am: AMD and Xilinx fall on weak revenue guidance

Shares of AMD and Xilinx are both down as weak revenue forecast from the two chipmakers overshadow better-than-expected earnings. AMD slid more than 4%, noting it expects first-quarter revenue to come in around $1.8 billion. That's slightly below a Refinitiv estimate of $1.86 billion. Xilinx, meanwhile, dropped 8.1% after the company issued a sales forecast ranging from $750 million to $780 million. That's well below a Refinitiv estimate of $825 million. Xilinx said it sees slowdown in "both 5G and wired infrastructure deployment." —Imbert

8:28 am: Dow heads for 170-point gain after Apple crushes earnings

Stock futures are pointing to another day of strong gains after Apple's quarterly results easily topped analyst expectations. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are up more than 140 points, indicating a gain of 174 points at the open. A swift turnaround in Boeing shares is also boosting the Dow. Worries over the coronavirus appear to have been set aside as investors turn their attention to the latest Federal Reserve decision on monetary policy. Though the Fed is expected to keep rates unchanged, Wall Street will look for clues about future policy direction. —Imbert

8:20 am: Coronavirus names bouncing back

Shares of stocks that have been hit recently by fears about the spreading coronavirus in China continued to bounce back on Wednesday. Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts International, which operate casinos in Macau, rose 1.8% and 2%, respectively, in premarket trading. Cruise line stocks also recovered some of their losses, with Norwegian Cruise Line up 1.5% and Royal Caribbean jumping 3%. –Fitzgerald

8:18 am: Apple jumps on strong earnings

Shares of Apple are up nearly 2% in premarket trading, on track to open above about a $1 above its record of $323.33 per share, after crushing analysts' expectations for its quarterly earnings on Tuesday. The Tim Cook-led technology company reported revenue and profit significantly higher than what Wall Street expected. Apple's earnings were partially powered by iPhone revenue, which was up 8% on the strength of new iPhone models to $55.96 billion. Apple's wearables business, which includes Airpods and Apple Watches, also drove one of the one of the biggest quarterly profits in history, analysts said. The company also acknowledged the uncertainty around the impact of the deadly coronavirus in China saying it was taking steps to reduce the impact and setting a wider guidance range. Shares of Apple have rallied more than 100% in the past 12 months. –Fitzgerald

— With reporting from Tom Franck, John Melloy, Yun Li, Jesse Pound, Gina Francolla and Patti Domm.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.