© Reuters.

By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com – The S&P eased from highs Wednesday, as coronavirus fears kept a lid on gains, but investor sentiment was supported by a surge in Apple (NASDAQ:) to record highs on bullish quarterly earnings.

The rose 0.27%, while the gained 0.27% and the added 0.38%.

Apple’s better-than-expected fiscal released Tuesday saw its shares climb to record highs intraday, setting a positive tone for corporate earnings amid a slew of reports from blue chips like McDonald’s (NYSE:), General Electric (NYSE:) and Boeing (NYSE:).

McDonald’s rose 2% after its and U.S. comparable-store sales topped Wall Street estimates, driven by price hikes at its U.S. stores.

GE surged 10% after its quarterly results beat on both the top and bottom lines, led by strength in its aviation business. The company also reported free cash flow of $3.9 billion, exceeding its target for the full year.

Boeing shrugged off weaker-than-expected results, rising about 3%, as the aircraft maker posted its first annual loss in more than decades, owing to losses from the grounding of its 737 Max jets.

Chip stocks, however, gave up some gains from a day earlier, pressured by a slump in Advanced Micro Devices Inc (NASDAQ:) as the chipmaker’s beat was overshadowed by signs of weakness in its gaming business ahead of the launch of new consoles.

Media stocks also suffered losses, led by a slump in AT&T (NYSE:) following its quarterly following a loss in cable subscriptions as the cord-cutting phenomenon continued.

Bullish sentiment on stocks has been kept in check by signs that the coronavirus continues to spread, with the death toll in China rising to 132 and the number of infected topping 6,000.

Energy also stifled upside, as losses in oil prices fell in the wake of data showing a larger-than-expected build in weekly supplies at a time when many fear the virus outbreak in China will hamper travel, leading to lower oil demand.

The second-straight day of gains for the broader market following a rout on Monday comes just hours before the Federal Reserve is set to reveal its interest rate decision st 2 PM ET.

Investor attention will likely be drawn to Jerome Powell’s press conference at 2.30 PM ET as the U.S. central bank is expected to keep rates steady.

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2020-01-29