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Stock Market News for April 28, 2016

Benchmarks finished mixed on Wednesday following an oil price rally, Fed’s policy statement and slump in tech stocks. Despite rise in crude inventories, oil prices increased after Fed’s decision to keep rates unchanged weakened the dollar. However, Apple’s lower than expected earnings results pulled the Nasdaq into the red, which reported its fifth straight session decline for the first time since Jan 11.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) increased 0.3%, to close at 18,041.55. The S&P 500 rose 0.2% to close at 2,095.15. However, the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 4,863.14, losing 0.5%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 1.4% to settle at 13.77. A total of around 7.4 billion shares were traded on Wednesday, higher than the last 20-session average of 6.9 billion shares. Advancers outpaced declining stocks on the NYSE. For 68% stocks that advanced, 29% declined.

After concluding its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) decided to keep interest flat within the 0.25 and 0.5 percent range, and expected “only gradual increases in the federal funds rate.” The committee said that “labor market conditions have improved” despite slow “growth in economic activity.” It added that although “growth in household spending” was moderate, households' real income had steadily improved and consumer sentiment continued to “remain high.”

Though data from labor and housing market was encouraging, inflation was “below the 2 percent longer-run objective.” So, the Committee said “the actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that the U.S. commercial crude oil inventories rose 2 million barrels to a peak level of 540.6 million for the week ended April 22. Despite rise in crude inventories, oil prices increased during the day after the dollar weakened. After Fed decided to keep rates unchanged, the dollar declined, which in turn had a positive impact on oil prices. The WTI crude increased 2.9% to $45.33 per barrel, reaching its five month high level. Also, Brent crude rose by $1.45 to $47.19 a barrel during the day.

Increase in oil prices boosted the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) by 1.9%, which was also the biggest gainer among the S&P 500’s sectors. Its key components including, Schlumberger Ltd (SLB), EOG Resources ( EOG), Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY), Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD) and Phillips 66 (PSX) rose 1.8%, 2.1%, 1.4%, 2% and 0.6% respectively. Dow component Chevron Corp (CVX) advanced 1.5%.

Separately, another Dow component, Exxon Mobil Corp’s (XOM) shares increased 1% to $88.46, reaching its highest level since May 2015. The company’s shares increased after its raised its dividend from 73 cents to 75 cents for the first quarter which will be paid to its shareholders on June 10.

However, shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) slumped 6.3% after iPhone sales witnessed their first year-on-year decline ever and its China sales dropped, which negatively impacted fiscal second quarter earnings results. According to Apple’s latest earnings report, total iPhone sales came in at 51.2 million units, down 16% from the year ago figure. Revenue wise, iPhone sales came in at $32.857 billion, down from $40.282 billion last year.

Moreover, sales in China came in at $12.486 billion for the quarter, registering a 32% drop from $18.373 billion in the previous quarter. This is also 26% lower than the same quarter last year. Also, Apple’s quarterly earnings of $1.90 per share missed the Zacks consensus estimate of $1.97. Total revenues dropped by 13% year-over-year to $50.6 billion, decreasing for the first time in 13 years. Quarterly revenues were also missed the Zacks consensus estimate of $51.5 billion.

Slump in Apple’s shares dragged the tech-based index, Nasdaq into the red. It also had a negative impact on the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK), which fell 0.5% and was the biggest decliner among the S&P 500 sectors. Some of the major components including Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT), Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) and Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) decreased 1%, 0.5% and 3%, respectively.

Additionally shares of Twitter, Inc. (TWTR) fell 16.3% after reporting first quarter adjusted loss of 7 cents per share. Revenues of $594.5 million were lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $607.2 million. Second quarter revenue guidance of $590 to $610 million, fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $678 million.

However, shares of Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) and The Boeing Company ( BA) rose 0.4% and 2.9%, respectively on better-than-expected first quarter revenue results. Comcast beats its earnings estimates while Boeing missed the same.

In economic news, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey, total mortgage application volume fell 4.1% for the week ended April 22. However, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that the Pending Home Sales Index increased 1.4% from February to 110.5 in March, reporting second consecutive monthly rise. Last month’s increase was also more than the consensus estimate of 0.4% gain.

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