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03 Feb 2021 | 15:30

US open: Stocks mixed as earnings and stimulus talks remain in focus

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street stocks were mixed following the opening bell on Wednesday as major corporate earnings remained firmly in focus. As of 1530 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.17% at 30,636.49, while the S&P 500 was up 0.14% at 3,831.67 and the Nasdaq Composite started out the session 0.34% firmer at 13,658.86.

The Dow opened 50.99 points lower on Wednesday, cutting into gains recorded in the previous session as concerns regarding a recent wave of speculative retail trading subsided.

Solid quarterly report cards from both Amazon and Google parent Alphabet overnight were in focus at the start of trading, with the former nearly doubling Wall Street earnings estimates.

Following the stock's absurd run last week, GameStop was in the green again following the opening bell. However, the shares were still down around 70% so far this week.

Quarterly results from Biogen revealed the group had fallen short of earnings estimates, leading it to issue some weak guidance, while Boston Scientific also posted earnings shy of analysts' expectations.

Still to come, Qualcomm, eBay and PayPal will all report after the close.

Market participants will also be monitoring discussions surrounding another stimulus package in Washington after President Joe Biden met with ten Republican senators earlier in the week to talk over a reduced aid proposal when compared to his $1.9trn package.

On the macro front, mortgage applications increased 8.15% week-on-week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, breaking a two-week streak of declines. The refinance index also improved 11% on the prior week - up to its highest level since March 2020 and 59% higher year-on-year.

Elsewhere, US private employers hired more workers in January than in the previous month despite new Covid-19 infections continuing to soar across the country. Private payrolls increased by 174,000 in January, according to ADP, ahead of expectations for a print 49,000, while data for December was revised to show 78,000 jobs lost instead of the 123,000 initially reported.

Still on data, economic activity in the US service sector expanded at a solid clip last month, with IHS Markit's services PMI rising to 58.3 from 54.8, ahead of both the flash estimate and market expectations of 57.5 The composite PMI also improved - up to 58.7, ahead of forecasts for a print of 58.

Lastly, the services PMI increased to 58.7 in January from 57.7 in December, beating market forecasts of 56.8, according to the Institute for Supply Management, pointing to the strongest expansion in the services sector since February 2019.

Federal Reserve presidents James Bullard, Patrick Harker, Charles Evans, Loretta Master and Robert Kaplan will all deliver speeches later in the day.
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