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US: Wall Street mixed after Trump fires FBI head; Nasdaq hits record high

Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 05:58

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[SAN FRANCISCO] US stocks were mixed on Wednesday as investors digested President Donald Trump's abrupt dismissal of his FBI chief as well as corporate earnings from Walt Disney and Nvidia.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost ground, while the Nasdaq closed at a record high.

Mr Trump said he fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey over his handling of an email scandal involving then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

However, Mr Comey had also been leading an investigation into whether Mr Trump's 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia.

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Market voices on:

Wall Street viewed the turmoil in Washington as the latest of several distractions from Mr Trump's promises to cut taxes and boost spending on infrastructure. The stock market has surged to record highs under Mr Trump due to expectations he will stimulate the economy and boost corporate earnings.

"This certainly is not reducing that contentious environment," said Eric Wiegand, a New York-based senior portfolio manager at the Private Client Reserve at US Bank.

"The focal point for investors is tax reform." With first-quarter earnings season nearly over, investors were looking toward April retail sales data, due out on Friday, for new clues about the economy's health.

"A lot of us have Q2 significantly stronger. Economic data really needs to show they can support our forecasts," said Paul Christopher, head global market strategist for Wells Fargo Investment Institute in St Louis, Missouri.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.16 per cent to end at 20,943.11 while the S&P 500 gained 0.11 per cent to 2,399.63.

The Nasdaq Composite added 0.14 per cent to reach a record high close 6,129.14.

After the bell, Snap slumped 18 per cent as the Snapchat-owner's first quarterly report disappointed investors.

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors rose during the session, with energy jumping 1.06 per cent, helped by a 3.5-per cent jump in oil prices . Consumer discretionary lost 0.28 per cent and industrials dropped 0.39 per cent.

Fueling the Nasdaq's record high, Nvidia surged 17.83 per cent after the chipmaker reported a better-than-expected jump in quarterly revenue. Shares of rival AMD rose 5.99 per cent.

Disney fell 2.15 per cent and was the strongest drag on the Dow after the media company reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue and a decline in the number of ESPN subscribers.

Allergan dropped 3.69 per cent after the Botox-maker posted a quarterly loss as it took a writedown on the value of its stake in Teva Pharmaceutical.

Priceline tumbled 4.54 per cent after the travel website operator forecast current-quarter earnings below analysts' expectations.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.89-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.26-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 29 new 52-week highs and two new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 131 new highs and 68 new lows.

About 6.7 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges, in line with the daily average over the last 20 sessions.

REUTERS

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