Boeing leads Wall Street out of two-day slump; Fed awaited

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose in late morning trading on Wednesday, with the Dow climbing more than 200 points after two days of steep losses, boosted by a surge in Boeing (BA.N).

The planemaker forecast full-year profit well above market estimates, sparking a 6.2 percent surge in its shares, the biggest weight in the price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average and the benchmark S&P 500.

Boeing helped the industrials sector .SPLRCI increase 1 percent, the most among the 11 major S&P sectors. But the biggest boost came from the tech sector .SPLRCT, which gained 0.90 percent. Microsoft (MSFT.O) and Facebook (FB.O) were both up more than 1 percent ahead of their results after the bell.

The blue-chip Dow .DJI suffered its biggest two-day drop since September 2016 over Monday and Tuesday as U.S. Treasury yields surged to near four-year highs on expectations of global central banks lowering stimulus.

“Today’s movement is a bit of a reflex bounce since we’d been pretty beaten up the last few days and we’re also getting some support from Boeing’s strong earnings,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in Boston.

The Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting ends on Wednesday and its statement at 2 p.m. ET (1900 GMT) is expected to signal a gradual tightening of monetary policy later this year as the U.S. economy continues to expand and job gains remain solid.

The Fed is expected to leave rates unchanged but the focus will be on its gauge of inflation, which remains below its target, the risks to economic outlook, and any assessment of the impact of the U.S. tax overhaul on growth. Currently, the markets have priced in three rate hikes this year.

FILE PHOTO – Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 26, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

“The Fed statement could be a bit of a wild card. Investors will be watching the tone of the statement that could give us an indication on the number of rate hikes this year,” Hogan said.

At 10:50 a.m. ET, the Dow .DJI was up 157.45 points, or 0.6 percent, at 26,234.34, the S&P .SPX was up 7.52 points, or 0.26 percent, at 2,829.95 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 31.36 points, or 0.42 percent, at 7,433.84.

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address also held few surprises. He said he wanted legislation to generate at least $1.5 trillion for infrastructure spending and revisited a campaign promise to lower drug prices.

An ADP report showing the U.S. private sector added much more jobs in January than expected, 234,000 vs. 185,000, also boost sentiment ahead of the more comprehensive non-farm payrolls data on Friday.

Among stocks, chipmaker AMD (AMD.O) rose 4.7 percent, while Electronic Arts (EA.O) jumped 9.1 percent after their upbeat quarterly reports.

Anthem’s (ANTM.N) strong results and forecast sent its shares up 2.5 percent and also boosted other health insurers, a day after the group and other health stocks were hit by news of’s (AMZN.O) healthcare plans.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,741 to 1,060. On the Nasdaq, 1,452 issues rose and 1,308 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 28 new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 66 new highs and 25 new lows.

Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Benagaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza

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