May 30, 2024

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and other U.S. stock indexes spiked Wednesday afternoon — not because the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged, but because there won’t be any more rate hikes. The market started celebrating after the Fed Chair Jerome Powell said “it is unlikely the next policy move will be a hike.”

The Dow rose 500 points as the markets digested the news. But it quickly gave almost all those gains back to close up 87 points, or 0.2%, to 37,903. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq each ended the day down 0.3%.

The Fed plans to significantly reduce quantitative tightening (QT) in order to combat inflation. QT is a monetary policy that helps a central bank reduce its assets, like treasuries or government bonds, by selling them off to decrease the money supply. With QT, the supply is reduced, interest rates rise, and monetary conditions tighten. QT does put pressure on bank reserves — but for now, the Fed’s first priority is to get rid of stubborn inflation, where it’s not seeing any improvement.

Apple will release its quarterly earnings Thursday, and analysts say the company could beat expectations despite an iPhone sales slip.

Amazon stock is rising after beating expectations

Shares of Amazon rose by nearly 2.2% by the end of the day as the e-commerce giant reported better-than-expected revenue for its first quarter. That increase was in part led by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and its advertising, the company said in its earnings release. Amazon’s shares have risen by 74% over the past year. Sales for the company’s AWS division grew 17% year over year to $25 billion during the quarter. That surge in sales could put Amazon in a good position to compete with AI leaders like Microsoft and Alphabet.

Super Micro Computer drops more than 14%

Shares of Super Micro Computer, which joined the S&P 500 index in March, sank more than 14% as the day ended as the company missed analysts’ revenue expectations for its fiscal third quarter.

In its latest earnings report, the manufacturer of artificial intelligence hardware reported revenues of $3.85 billion, more than double the $1.28 billion from the same quarter last year. But Super Micro Computer missed Wall Street analysts’ expectations of $3.95 billion. Earnings per share came in at $6.56, beating expectations of $5.78.

CVS Health stock drops to a three-year low

Shares of CVS Health fell to a three-year low Wednesday morning after the company reported that it was grappling with rising healthcare costs. The drugstore chain reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.31, which is below the expectation of $1.69. Revenue rose 3.7% to $88.4 billion, missing the expectation of $89.21 billion.

The stock was down more than 16% as the market closed.

Johnson & Johnson says its talc products are cancer-free

Johnson & Johnson announced Wednesday that it plans to pay nearly $6.5 billion over 25 years to settle all pending and future U.S. lawsuits alleging that its baby powder and other talc-based products caused ovarian cancer.

This is the company’s third attempt to settle the lawsuits via a bankruptcy filing — in which claimants become creditors — of its subsidiary LTL Management.

The company’s stock rose nearly 4.5% as the market closed following the company’s announcement of the plan.

Starbucks disappoints on earnings

Starbucks’ latest quarterly earnings report showed lower-than-expected revenue, earnings, and same-store sales growth. The company posted a net income of $772 million, down from $908 million the year before. The adjusted earnings per share were 68 cents, compared to 80 cents expected. The company’s revenue for the most recent quarter was $8.6 billion, while analysts expected $9.1 billion.

The stock shed more than 15% by the end of the day.

Bitcoin drops to $58,000

Bitcoin has continued its April wipeout into May, falling below $58,000 as the day ended. It technically entered into a bear market after its worst month in nearly a year and a half.

The ongoing selloff, which sent Bitcoin’s price as low as $56,757 early Wednesday before a slight rebound, follows April’s closely-watched “halving” event and comes ahead of the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates. Bitcoin is now more than 20% below its record high of $73,803 set in March, though it’s still up about 30% so far this year.

-Francisco Velasquez and Bruce Gil contributed to this story.

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