Wall Street's Top Stories At Midday, May 1st

Stocks rise after Apple earnings beat as investors await the Fed

Stocks are mildly higher as the Nasdaq gets an outsized boost from Apple's (AAPL) post-earnings jump. Next up, investors await the rate decision from the Federal Reserve, though it is universally expected that the central bank will not announce a change in the target for the Fed Funds rate this afternoon. More critical will be an examination of the language the Fed uses and its overall tone on when it may resume raising rates, or even make a rate cut, as the President has been lobbying in favor of.

ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., ADP reported private payrolls surged by 275,000 employees in April, handily beating expectations. Markit's manufacturing index rose 0.2 ticks to 52.6 in the final April print. The ISM manufacturing index dropped 2.5 points to 52.8 in April, missing forecasts and hitting a 30-month low. Construction spending fell 0.9% in March, which was also worse than expected.

The FOMC resumed its meeting, with the policy decision due at 2 pm ET, followed by Chairman Powell's press conference at 2:30 pm ET. Analysts don't expect any change in the Fed's policy stance and are forecasting a confirmation of its "patient" approach.

Internationally, several markets are closed for holidays, including every market in Europe except for the UK.

TOP NEWS: Apple (AAPL) has reclaimed its spot as the top U.S.-listed company by market value and passed back above $1T in market cap after its better than expected results and guidance announced last night drove the shares up nearly 7% at midday. The tech giant noted that iPhone sales dropped 17% in the quarter compared to last year, though that decline was not as bad as feared. Apple also offered upbeat commentary on China and Wearables along with a big $75B stock buyback plan.

CVS Health (CVS) reported better than expected earnings and revenue in the first quarter, prompting the company to raise its full year outlook. President and CEO Larry Merlo said the company's first full quarter of combined operations with Aetna "was a success in many ways," noting that CVS has started to launch new innovations such as its HealthHUB concept stores.

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