Market Snapshot: U.S. stocks: Techs poised to surge after Apple blows Street away

MADRID (MarketWatch) — U.S. stock futures looked poised to claw back some gains on Wednesday after the prior day’s brutal selloff in the technology sector, with Apple Inc. set to do the heavy lifting after the iPhone maker’s blowout earnings.

As well, investors will be waiting on the results of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting and earnings from Boeing Co., plus reaction to several other companies that reported late Tuesday.

Leading the way higher, futures for the Nasdaq-100 NDH5, +0.83%  surged 44.75 points, or 1%, to 4,222.25. Those for the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJH5, +0.01%  rose 27 points, or 0.2%, to 17,405, while futures for the S&P 500 index SPH5, +0.16%  gained 8.7 points, or 0.4%, to 2,038.70.

But investors had a right to be wary, considering the carnage on Wall Street Tuesday. U.S. stocks saw the biggest drop in three weeks, hammered by disappointing earnings from economic bellwethers such as Caterpillar Inc. CAT, -7.18% Microsoft Corp. MSFT, -9.25%  and a sharp fall in durable-goods orders. Among the losses, the S&P 500 index SPX, -1.34%  fell 1.3%.

Apple’s mind-boggling quarter

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Apple surpassed even the most bullish Wall Street expectations for its holiday quarter with an improbable trifecta: selling more iPhones at higher prices—and earning more on each sale.

Apple and Fed: Apple was set to help turn sentiment around on Wednesday, at least for techs, after reporting another record for its flagship iPhone, with 74.5 million phones sold in the fiscal first quarter. Profit rose 38% to a record high and shares jumped 5% in late trade.

Check out a live blog recap of Apple’s conference call

Plus: Has Apple grown overly dependent on the iPhone?

The only economic event for Wednesday is the FOMC announcement, due at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. The two-day meeting isn’t expected to produce any major changes to the Fed’s statement, and Goldman Sachs and others expect the first hike in short-term interest rates by September. Ellen Zentner, economist at Morgan Stanley said Tuesday that she doesn’t don’t expect a Fed hike until March 2016, partly due to downward pressure on inflation coming in stronger than expected.

A strong dollar, which has been cutting into corporate earnings, and weak oil prices mean investors are hoping the Fed will delay that hike and they will be looking for a signal from the statement.

Doubts grow about midyear rate hike, but Fed won’t express any

Yahoo, Boeing in focus: Shares of Boeing BA, -1.19%  could be active, with earnings expected ahead of the opening bell.

Yahoo Inc. YHOO, -2.93%  could follow up a 7.3% late-session jump with more premarket gains after the Internet search engine said it would spin off its Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA, -1.01% stake into a separate, publicly traded company.

U.S. Steel Corp. X, -0.28%  could get a push higher in premarket after the steel producer’s earnings topped Wall Street estimates.

Abiomed Inc. ABMD, -2.38%  surged 29% in late trade after the medical device maker posted earnings that blew out Wall Street estimates.

On the downside, Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. ETC, -1.36%  could follow up a 13% late-session drop after weaker-than-expected results in its holiday quarter.

Overseas markets: Europe stocks SXXP, +0.09%  were pushing higher, with upbeat results form heavyweight retailer H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB HMB, -2.04%  and a survey showing German consumer sentiment will reach a 13-year high in February. The Nikkei 225 index NIK, +0.15%  rose to a fresh one-month high as the yen weakened against the dollar and other currencies.

Crude-oil prices CLH5, -1.43%  fell another 80 cents to $ 45.43 a barrel, as another investment bank downgraded its forecast for the commodity. Barclays cut its forecasts for WTI crude to $ 42 a barrel for 2015 from $ 66 and $ 57 a barrel for 2016. For Brent crude, Barclays cut its forecast to $ 44 a barrel for 2015 from $ 72 and forecast $ 60 for 2015.

Gold prices GCG5, -0.26%  drifted lower ahead of the FOMC meeting.


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