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Facebook, PayPal Lead Wild Swings; Hope For Apple As Earnings Loom: S&P 500 Futures | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

Futures for the S&P 500 index and Nasdaq 100 rose modestly vs. fair value late Wednesday after Facebook (FB) sold off initially on earnings but then rebounded. PayPal (PYPL) initially fell modestly, but then plunged late in the session. Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL) chipmaker Qorvo (QRVO) shot up late on its earnings after Broadcom (AVGO) released positive sales figures a day ahead of Apple earnings.

X S&P 500 index futures were up 0.3% vs. fair value. Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.15%. In addition to Apple, Amazon (AMZN), Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) and Mastercard (MA) report earnings Thursday.

Keep in mind that extended trading does not always translate into how a stock will open or close in the following regular session. Volume will be much heavier, while analysts and investors will have more time to sift through the figures and comments.

Facebook

Facebook topped adjusted earnings and sales growth estimates, but shares sold off more than 4% in early after-hours trading after CEO Mark Zuckerberg said changes to its News Feed reduced users’ time on the site by 50 million hours every day. Daily active users in the U.S. and Canada fell for the first time ever, falling to 184 million users from 185 million in Q3.

But late in the post-earnings call with analysts, Facebook said ad rates have soared. COO Sheryl Sandberg said News Feed changes may reduce how much time people spend on Facebook but shouldn’t affect profitability. Facebook turned higher, up 1% at 188.75.

PayPal

The online payments processor reported a 30% earnings-per-share gain for the fourth quarter. PayPal also gave largely in-line guidance for 2018. Shares initially fell modestly in late trade after rising to a record high during Wednesday’s regular session. But then former parent eBay (EBAY), which also reported earnings after hours, said it would drop PayPal as its online payment provider for Dutch firm Ayden. The eBay deal with PayPal doesn’t fully end until 2020. But PayPal fell much further, trading down 10% in late action.

Apple Chipmakers

Qorvo reported better-than-expected fiscal Q3 results late Wednesday, but guided low for the current Q4, citing weaker handset sales. That offered further, implicit confirmation that Apple will cut guidance when it reports holiday-quarter results Thursday night.

But Qorvo shot up nearly 9% in late trade. That’s after rising nearly 6% so far this week, retaking its 50-day and 200-day moving average. Admittedly, Qorvo’s late-night gains likely reflect the company’s hints that it will get a bigger share of chips in the iPhone.

But Qorvo’s recent action suggests the bad news may be priced in for iPhone chipmakers.

Before Wednesday’s open, Broadcom, another Apple chipmaker, reported preliminary sales that were above estimates, while also guiding high for current-quarter revenue. Shares rose 2.9% during the regular session, though they closed below their 200-day moving average.

Apple

As for Apple itself, the tech titan’s shares closed up 0.3% to 167.43.

Apple is still down for 2018, trading well below its 50-day moving average and a 176.35 flat-base buy point. Worse, the relative strength line, which tracks a stock’s performance vs. the S&P 500 index, is holding at its worst levels since mid-June. Investors should be focusing on stocks that are truly leading the market.

Apple is likely to move sharply on earnings, but as Facebook and PayPal show, it can be a wild ride.

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