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Indexes Up But Off Highs As Fed Decision Looms; PayPal Rallies Pre-Earnings | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

Blue chips carried the leadership baton in afternoon trading as strong earnings and guidance from Boeing (BA) helped fuel a 0.5% advance for the Dow Jones industrial average.

X Apple (AAPL) was mostly flat even as BMO Capital Markets lowered its rating to market perform from outperform and cut Apple’s price target to 162 from 199. Apple’s earnings report is due Thursday after the close amid persistent concerns about iPhone X demand.

Major stock indexes were off session highs as a 0.7% early gain for the Nasdaq composite faded to 0.3%. The S&P 500 added 0.2%. Volume on the NYSE and Nasdaq was on pace to be lower than Tuesday’s levels in the stock market today.

Video game makers Electronic Arts (EA) and Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) led the Nasdaq 100 with gains of around 7%. Electronic Arts gapped out of a consolidation, rising 7%, after reporting strong earnings late Tuesday. Take-Two also broke out, rising 7% to 127.06 in active trading, ahead of its Feb. 7 earnings report

The two-day Fed meeting concludes today with a decision on interest rates due at 2 p.m. ET. The Federal Open Market Committee is widely expected to keep the fed funds rate unchanged at 1.25% to 1.50%. For the March meeting, futures traders see a 75% chance for a quarter-point hike to 1.50% to 1.75%. That’s according to data from CME Group FedWatch.

In economic news, the ADP Employment Report revealed a 234,000 jump in January private payrolls, nicely above the consensus estimate of 195,000. The data come ahead of Friday’s jobs report which is expected to show a 175,000 increase in the same month’s non-farm payrolls with the unemployment rate holding steady at 4.1%.

Inside the IBD 50, China names Sina (SINA) and Alibaba (BABA) outperformed with gains of around 2%. Sina has an Accumulation/Distribution Rating of D as it holds above a 113.05 buy point from a double-bottom base. Note that the breakout was in light volume.

Alibaba, meanwhile, is holding up well after a recent breakout over a 191.85 buy point. Results in the former member of IBD Leaderboard are due Thursday before the open.

Results from IBD 50 name PayPal (PYPL) are due today after the close. The stock is slightly extended after a low-volume breakout over a 79.48 buy point.

Earnings from Facebook (FB) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) are also due after the close.


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