Here are the most important news, trends and analysis that investors need to start their trading day:
Dow futures fell more than 300 points Wednesday. With earnings once again a main focus on Wall Street, Dow stocks Boeing and Apple release quarterly results before the open and after the close, respectively. Boeing shares lost 3% after disappointing numbers. Nasdaq futures were also sharply lower. Microsoft bucked the down trend, jumping more than 1.5% in the premarket after the tech giant late Tuesday reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue.
The Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 closed modestly lower Tuesday but remained near recent record highs. The government Wednesday morning reported December durable goods orders rose a less-than-expected 0.2%. The Federal Reserve ends its two-day January policy meeting Wednesday afternoon, with investors looking to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell for clarity on the prospect of "tapering" or reducing asset purchases.
Melvin Capital closed out its short position in GameStop on Tuesday afternoon after taking a huge loss, manager of the fund Gabe Plotkin told CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin. The brick-and-mortar video game retailer, hedge funds' most-hated stock, was targeted by an army of retail investors who marshaled against short sellers in online chat rooms. GameStop shares have more than doubled this week alone, driving their January gains to 685%. The stock was worth just $6 four months ago. Shares have swung wildly in the premarket, indicating at one stage a 150% gain to about $375 per share at Wednesday's open.
Shares of embattled movie theater giant AMC Entertainment quadrupled during premarket trading Wednesday, caught up in a flurry of trading in some of Wall Street's most shorted stocks. Individual investors are creating short squeezes by buying up these names, while hedge funds who are short on the other side rush to cover their losses. Individual investors are promoting their activity on the wallstreetbets Reddit board, which has 2.8 million members.
Boeing reported a record net-loss of $11.9 billion in 2020, results that worsened as the company pushed back the debut of its 777X plane to late 2023. The struggling aircraft maker took a $6.5 billion charge in the fourth quarter. Boeing reported a Q4 loss of $15.25 per share. Revenue of $15.3 billion exceeded expectations.
Microsoft kicked off Big Tech earnings, delivering fiscal second-quarter profit of $2.03 per share and revenue of nearly $43.1 billion. The company's Azure cloud computing unit had a particularly strong quarter, as did its advertising businesses at LinkedIn and in search. Microsoft also issued rosy guidance on overall third-quarter revenue.
During its second quarter, Microsoft released $500 Xbox Series X and $300 Series S consoles, along with a small version of its Surface Laptop PC called the Surface Laptop Go. The company also said some of its source code had been accessed after it had detected malicious SolarWinds software in its environment.
President Joe Biden is calling on the nation's top scientists and public health experts to regularly update Americans about the Covid pandemic, which has claimed more than 425,000 lives in the U.S. Beginning Wednesday, administration experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, will host briefings three times a week.
Biden said Tuesday the U.S. government is working to purchase an additional 200 million doses of Covid vaccines, split evenly between Pfizer's shots and Moderna's, in a move that could provide enough doses for nearly every American to get fully inoculated by the fall. The Trump administration passed on purchasing more doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the only two so far cleared for emergency use in the U.S. Trump officials instead sought to rely on additional vaccines coming to market.