The stock market moved higher Wednesday morning in response to testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell that suggested that the central bank remains poised to reduce interest rates as soon as this month. After a strong employment report in June, some had feared that the Fed might choose not to adopt a more accommodative monetary policy, but Powell's comments reassured investors looking for rate cuts. As of just after 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 80 points to 26,864. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) gained 11 points to 2,991, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) was higher by 37 points to 8,178.
The booming stock market has lifted shares of companies across the U.S., but for Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), a rise through a key price level sent the e-commerce giant's market capitalization back toward an important milestone. Elsewhere, payment specialist PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) announced good news from a corner of its business dealings about which even many shareholders don't know.
Amazon swings higher
Amazon's stock climbed by about 1.5%, rising above the $2,000-per-share level for the first time since last fall. The move pushed the company's market capitalization to the brink of the $1 trillion mark, a level that Amazon first surpassed in September 2018.
Amazon owes much of its long-term success to its two-pronged business approach. On one hand, the growth of the company's long-standing e-commerce business has been consistent and impressive, with the platform provider not only selling its own goods but also offering a marketplace for other sellers to hawk their wares. With the Amazon Prime Day event expanding to two days this year, the company is still committed to making the most of its retail-related operations.
Yet Amazon also has tapped into other opportunities effectively. Linking Prime to its streaming-video service has made the company a viable competitor in the space. The Amazon Web Services division, meanwhile, has been a huge favorite among enterprise customers, helping to facilitate the dramatic shift into cloud computing that top companies have made in recent years.
Today's move isn't particularly tied to any one event, but it does mark a recovery from a period of stagnant share prices for the tech giant. With so many things going well for the company, continued gains for Amazon stock are entirely possible as 2019 rolls on.
PayPal gets a boost from Latin America
PayPal Holdings saw its stock rise 1%. The payment processing company gave investors some good news about its expected results for the second quarter, revealing the source of what it expects will be a considerable addition to its bottom line.
PayPal said in a disclosure with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it anticipates reporting a pre-tax gain of $218 million in the second quarter. The company attributed the gain to "strategic investments." The profit should result in a $0.14-per-share boost to earnings for the period.
That particularly successful strategic investment is e-commerce and payment specialist MercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI), in which PayPal invested $750 million earlier this year. MercadoLibre has seen its stock more than double during 2019, with a significant portion of those gains coming after PayPal had made its investment. The Latin American company has benefited from an upturn in the regional economy, which has helped just about every facet of its business.
Yet for PayPal, the most interesting part of MercadoLibre is its MercadoPago payment service. Following a similar strategy that PayPal did with an online marketplace, MercadoPago got its start facilitating transactions on MercadoLibre's marketplace. Now, though, it's become a rising star in its own right -- and that could have the PayPal investment becoming a more important PayPal competitor in the years to come. For now, though, PayPal's more than happy to participate in MercadoLibre's overall success.