Stock Market Today: Fed Cuts Rates as Stocks Hit Record Highs

The S&P 500 hit a record high again, just it has each session this week. The market continues to grind higher as investors work through earnings and as the Federal Reserve cut interest rates once more. Both earnings and the Fed were a top focus in the stock market today.

Before the open, investors were looking at General Electric (NYSE:GE) after the company beat on earnings and revenue expectations and raised its free cash flow outlook. The report was enough to send GE stock higher by 11.7% on the day.

However, before we could hear from Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) — which are due up after the close — investors had to digest another Fed announcement.

The Fed decided to cut interest rates by another 25 basis points. However, they signaled that they would pause the rate cuts after this month. Neither action comes as a surprise to InvestorPlace readers.

While the early takeaway from the Fed seems to remain somewhat dovish, there are questions about how much upside is left in the market in the short term. After all, we just noted that stocks have new highs every day this week.

Movers in the Stock Market Today

It took all session long, but Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) finally rallied into positive territory in late trading Wednesday. The move comes despite AMD missing on revenue estimates and reporting in-line earnings results. Shares ended higher by 30 basis points.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) stock rallied 2.9% on the day, after two independent labs found no asbestos in the company’s baby powder product. Shares were finally breaking out on earnings earlier this month, but the recall news hit hard. Now, J&J is trying for another breakout.

Here’s how to trade AMD and JNJ now (along with a FB earnings preview).

Fiat (NYSE:FCAU) confirms that it has reached a merger agreement with Peugeot (OTCMKTS:PEUGF). Reports of the two parties being in merger discussions made its way around Wall Street on Tuesday afternoon, so the confirmation comes as little surprise (although perhaps sooner than some had expected).

Speaking of M&A, LVMH insiders have suggested that there’s not much wiggle room left in its bid for Tiffany (NYSE:TIF). Shares of the latter erupted more than 30% on Monday after it was confirmed LVMH is looking to acquire the company.

Streaming Wars

AT&T’s (NYSE:T) HBO Max has confirmed the service will be $14.99 a month. While not a complete surprise given that many consider HBO a premium content outlet, it’s significantly more expensive than its peers at a time where competition continues to increase.

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is priced at $12.99, while Apple’s TV Plus service will cost just $4.99. Disney (NYSE:DIS) will come in at $6.99 for its Disney Plus service, which is just weeks away from launch. HBO subscribers will receive HBO Max at no extra cost.

A few other notes should be pointed out about AT&T, which reported earnings on Monday. The company’s goal is to reach 80 million global subscribers for its HBO Max product by 2025, 50 million of which will be in the U.S. However, it will need to see traction in this segment if it wants to offset the DirecTV exodus it continues to experience.

Last quarter, AT&T lost more than 1 million TV customers as the cord-cutting trend continues to gain momentum. Could that lead to yet another beat-and-raise quarter from Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU)? Needham analysts seem to think so.

While AT&T didn’t finish much higher on the day, it did hit a new 52-week in Wednesday’s trading session.

Bret Kenwell is the manager and author of Future Blue Chips and is on Twitter @BretKenwell. As of this writing, Bret Kenwell is long AAPL, DIS, T and ROKU. 

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