Facebook and Tesla report quarterly earnings

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4:20 p.m. ET, April 24, 2019

Microsoft's bet on the cloud is paying off

Microsoft's (MSFT) bet on the cloud continues to pay off.

On Wednesday, the company said sales for its most recent quarter rose 14% to $30.6 billion, which was above Wall Street's estimates. The increase in revenue was helped by the company's commercial cloud business, which jumped 41% to $9.6 billion from last year. 

Earnings-per-share also beat analysts' expectations. The stock rose more than 2% in after-hours trading.

The company has heavily invested in cloud services in the last several years, shifting focus away from its legacy business, Windows

Microsoft's efforts have placed the company near the top of the fast-growing cloud technology sector. Its key cloud-computing platform is Azure, which competes with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Analysts say Amazon (AMZN) and Microsoft are the leaders in the cloud space, while Google (GOOG) is a "distant" third, followed by Oracle (ORCL) and IBM (IBM)

4:13 p.m. ET, April 24, 2019

US stocks close lower, pull back from records

Stocks ended Wednesday’s trading day lower, just one day after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq finished at a record high.

  • The Dow closed 0.2%, or 59 points lower.
  • The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both finished 0.2% lower.

So much for more record breaking…Losses were led by companies in energy, as well as telecommunications services and basic materials.

Tesla (TSLA), Facebook (FB) and Microsoft (MSFT) are reporting after the closing bell. Tesla shares were down 2% on Wednesday, while Facebook and Microsoft closed 0.6% and 0.3% lower, respectively.

1:17 p.m. ET, April 24, 2019

Investors are still on the sidelines and their return could lead the market higher

Investors took a ton of money out of funds in the first quarter, suggesting that a lot of people haven't taken part in the stock market rally this year.

But when these players come back to the market, stocks will get another boost, said Kristen Bitterly, head of capital markets Americas at Citi Private Bank.

She predicts a 5% to 7% upside in stocks.

On top of that, volatility was low, Bitterly said. So maybe it's a good time to buy some protection for whatever there is to come next.

A recession, however, will likely not be it. At least not any time soon, said Bitterly.

2:11 p.m. ET, April 24, 2019

Stocks made history yesterday. Here's what investors should do today

Don't read too much into the flat stock market today, cautioned Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner at Meridian Equity Partners, on CNN Business' Markets Now live show.

The flat trading day follows record closing highs for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. But a pause was healthy for markets, Corpina said, and will in the end help move markets the next leg higher.

"We don't want one-way markets, going straight up or straight down," he said.

So don't worry too much about any one day in markets. Stay calm out there.

1:13 p.m. ET, April 24, 2019

US dollar hits best level since June 2017

The US dollar reached its best level of the year today, which is great for the buck but perhaps less great for stocks.

A strong currency usually weighs on the stock market. That notwithstanding, the greenback has been trending higher for much of the year, and stocks didn't seem to mind too much. Yesterday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite hit new all-time closing highs.

In Wednesday trading, the ICE US Dollar Index, which measures the US currency against six major rivals, climbed to a high of 97.991, a level last reached in June 2017, according to Refinitiv.

12:44 p.m. ET, April 24, 2019

Stocks are little changed at midday

About half-way through the trading day, stocks are little changed.

The Nasdaq was barely in positive territory, but above yesterday's all-time closing high, while the S&P 500 and the Dow were slightly lower.

In the Dow, consumer companies are stronger, holding the balance against a drop in energy and basic materials shares.

Anadarko Petroleum (APC) remains the top gainer in the S&P, following the announcement that Occidental Petroleum (OXY) offered to acquire it for $76 a share.

12:19 p.m. ET, April 24, 2019

'Rock solid:' Analyst is bullish about tech earnings

More tech earnings are coming up. Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note that he expects earnings to be "rock solid," adding:

While tech stocks continue to make new highs we believe this rally still has legs as the underlying growth drivers across consumer and enterprise tech names remain healthy."

Ives added that cloud computing and cyber security "remain the sectors to own for tech investors." He pointed to Microsoft as a strong name on that front.

Here's when some big tech companies report:

  • Facebook (FB) and Microsoft (MSFT) report today after the bell.
  • Amazon (AMZN) releases earnings Thursday.
  • Alphabet (GOOGL) and Apple (AAPL) report next week.
11:12 a.m. ET, April 24, 2019

Stock records speak to 'American supremacy,' says BlueBay Asset Management

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq's new closing records did not come as a surprise to everyone. Rather, some analysts say the records are proof that the United States in doing better than its peers.

The observation I had was that it looked like American supremacy," said Mark Dowding, co-head of developed markets at BlueBay Asset Management.

The strong performance in US stocks but also in the US dollar "is highlighting that compared to the rest of the world, the US is dominant for the time being," said Dowding.

The economy was on solid footing, he continued, and clearly the recession worries from just a few weeks back were overplayed.

With the first quarter GDP reading due on Friday, Dowding is keeping his eyes peeled.

"If a historically weak quarter is that good, it tells you a lot about how well the US is doing," Dowding said.

Usually, the first quarter of the year is weaker than the others. Plus, the economy is powered by the US consumer, who is doing well on the whole with unemployment low and wages rising.

10:45 a.m. ET, April 24, 2019

An hour into trading, stocks struggle for direction

About an hour into the trading day stocks are pushing and pulling in different directions. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are still very close to yesterday's record-breaking closing levels, but still without a clear direction for the day ahead.

Losers in the S&P are led by human resources group Robert Half International (RHI), which is down 9.3%, and commercial services company Rollins (ROL), which dropped 8.5%. Both companies reported earnings today. On the opposite end of the spectrum, oil exploration and production company Anadarko (APC) is the biggest gainer, climbing nearly 12%.

In the Dow, stronger cyclical consumer companies are balancing out weaker energy firms. Boeing (BA) is the index' strongest stock, up 1.7% so far. The company reported a 21% drop in profits before the bell.