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Indexes Bide Time Ahead Of Fed Statement; This Group is Red Hot Today | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

Stocks held near the flat line Wednesday in afternoon trading as earnings reports and the Fed remained the primary focus.

XAutoplay: On | OffThe Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 eked out gains of around 0.1%, while the Nasdaq composite eased 0.4%. Small caps lagged badly with the Russell 2000 down 0.8%. Volume on the NYSE and Nasdaq was tracking higher than Tuesday’s levels, more so on the NYSE.

Indexes fell off highs after the closely-watched ISM manufacturing index came in slightly below expectations at 58.7. A smaller drop was expected from September’s reading of 60.8. Oil, meanwhile, pared gains and was mostly unchanged around $54.36 a barrel after a U.S. government showed smaller-than-expected declines in crude and gasoline stockpiles.

The two-day Federal Reserve meeting concludes today with the policy statement due at 2 p.m. ET. The market thinks there’s virtually no chance of a rate hike today, but it’s pretty much a slam dunk for December.

Dow component and tech bellwether Apple (AAPL) lagged, falling more than 1%, ahead of its earnings report Thursday after the close. It cleared a 160.97 buy point Friday in heavy volume

Security software stocks also weighed on the Nasdaq, hurt by a earnings and a weak sales outlook from Nasdaq 100 name Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP). Shares plunged 11%, giving up the 200-day moving average, a longer-term support level.

Other Nasdaq 100 names down hard on earnings included Electronic Arts (ERTS) and biotech Incyte (INCY).

In the stock market today, casino operators with a strong presence in China rallied on news Macau gaming revenue in October rose 22.1%, above the 15.9% Consensus Metrix estimate. Shares of Wynn Resorts (WYNN) rose 2% to 150.96; Melco Resorts (MLCO) added 2% and Las Vegas Sands (LVS) picked up nearly 2%.

Wynn broke out during the week ended Sept. 1 and just bounced off the 10-week moving average for the first time. Las Vegas Sands’ weekly chart shows a cup-with-handle base taking shape with a 65.99 buy point. Melco is slightly extended from a 23.35 buy point.

Exploration and production firms in the energy sector outperformed. Devon Energy (DVN) gapped above the 200-day moving average, rising nearly 6% to 39.04 and Concho Resources (CXO) broke out over a 137.38 buy point, rising 4% to 139.55. Matador Resources (MTDR), meanwhile, added 1% to 26.80. It’s fast approaching a 27.97 buy point.

Sina (SINA), PetMed Express (PETS) and Centene (CNC) outperformed in the IBD 50 with gains of 3% to 5%.

Facebook (FB) added 0.7% to 181.36 ahead of its earnings report after the close. It broke out over a 175.59 buy point ahead of the results. Quarterly profit is expected to rise 42% from the year-ago quarter to $1.28 a share.

Tesla (TSLA) also reports after the close. After a recent break below the 50-day moving, Tesla is now testing support at the 200-day line. Shares slumped 3% to 321.98.

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