5 Things to Know Before The Stock Market Opens

Feb 2, 2024

News of the day for February 2, 2024

Published February 02, 2024

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking at Meta Connect event last September.

 David Paul Morris / Bloomberg / Getty Images

Facebook parent Meta Platforms’ (META) first-ever dividend and Amazon.com Inc.’s (AMZN) rosy outlook for the current quarter cheered investors, who sent shares of both companies flying after the two Magnificent Seven tech giants posted better-than-expected earnings. Apple Inc. (AAPL) fell, though, as a slump in China sales failed to offset the iPhone maker’s earnings beat. Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) topped estimates this morning, and the jobs report is on deck. Here’s what investors need to know today.

1. Meta Surges on Dividend Payout, Q4 Results Beat 

Meta Platforms (META) shares were up 17% in pre-market trading after the Facebook parent announced a cash dividend of 50 cents a share, its first ever, an additional $50 billion in buybacks, and record quarterly revenue that beat forecasts that showed the benefits of AI-targeted ads. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the firm was a “leaner company” following its spate of layoffs, adding that Meta is looking to integrate its AI tools into its family of apps including WhatsApp and Instagram.

2. Amazon Shares Boosted by Q1 Sales Rise Forecast

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) shares were up nearly 7% after the online retailer beat analysts’ forecasts for earnings during its fourth quarter, spanning the crucial holiday season. The online retailer, which, like Meta, has boosted its bottom line by reducing spending through job cuts, also gave strong guidance for the current quarter. It said net sales would be between $138 billion and $143.5 billion, representing growth of 8% to 13%, versus the first quarter of 2023.

3. Apple’s China Sales Weigh on Investors

Apple (AAPL) shares were off 2.5% after better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter revenue failed to dent investor gloom about its weak China sales. The iPhone maker ended its four quarters of revenue declines with sales of $119.6 billion during the October-to-December period but China sales fell 13%, dragged by intense competition by the likes of homegrown Huawei and the weakening economy. CEO Tim Cook said that he “remain[s] very optimistic about China in the long term.” He also noted “huge opportunity for Apple with GenAI and AI,” but was a lot less forthcoming than his tech rivals about the company’s plans for the technology. 

4. Oil Majors’ Earnings Beat Expectations

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), the largest U.S. oil and gas company, and Chevron (CVX) reported quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street’s expectations, even as earnings fell from the same period last year. Exxon reported $7.6 billion in fourth-quarter earnings, down 40% from the same period a year earlier. Chevron posted a $2.3 billion quarterly profit, down 64% from a year earlier. Both were weighed down by impairment charges related to their California assets. Exxon was up 0.9% and Chevron gained 1.2% in pre-market trading.

5. Jobs Report Expected to Show Fewer Jobs Added

Friday’s jobs report is likely to show that fewer jobs were added in January than December, while unemployment ticked up, according to economists. This is the first major piece of data since the Fed’s decision to hold interest rates steady earlier this week. The estimates, according to economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, are for 185,000 additions in January and unemployment of 3.8%. Payrolls grew by 216,000 in December, and the unemployment rate came in at 3.7%.

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.

Leave a comment