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US: Wall Street slips as investors take profits after record day

Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 23:06

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[BENGALURU] US stocks slipped on Thursday as investors booked profits after a record day on Wall Street that propelled the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 21,000 for the first time ever.

Wall Street's main indexes on Wednesday posted their best day since the November election, boosted by President Donald Trump's more measured tone in a speech to Congress and as bank stocks surged on increased chances of an interest rate hike this month.

A report from the Labor Department on Thursday showed that the number of Americans who applied for jobless claims fell to a 44-year low last week, pointing to continued strength in the labour market.

The data supported a flurry of encouraging comments on the economy from Federal Reserve officials that nudged the markets to price in higher chances of an interest rate hike in two weeks. Fed Chair Janet Yellen is set to speak on Friday.

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Fed Board Governor Lael Brainard, who is typically dovish on rates, said on Wednesday that a move on rates could come "soon".

"Even on the Federal Reserve Board, the last of the doves is finally acknowledging that if things seem strong enough we've got some cover here to move," said Mike Bailey, president of FBB Capital Partners.

The odds for a move this month jumped to 74 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

At 9.36am ET (1436 GMT) the Dow was down 27.9 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 21,087.65, the S&P 500 was down 6.77 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 2,389.19 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 16.47 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 5,887.56.

Oil prices fell more than 1.7 per cent following a report that showed US crude oil stocks hit an all-time high.

Ten of the major S&P 500 indexes were lower, led by a 0.5 per cent decline in the energy sector.

Financials, which would benefit in a higher rate environment, were the outliers.

Investors are awaiting the trading debut of Snap Inc, the owner of popular messaging app Snapchat, on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker. Snap on Wednesday priced its initial public offering above its target range, raising US$3.4 billion and giving the company a US$24 billion valuation.

Shares of Kroger dropped 4.2 per cent to US$30.71, weighing the most on the S&P 500, after the supermarket operator reported a surprise decline in holiday-quarter same-store sales.

Monster Beverage was the biggest percentage gainer on the S&P, rising 11.7 per cent following a quarterly revenue that beat analysts' average estimate.

Broadcom rose 3.5 per cent to $222.76 after the chipmaker reported quarterly revenue above analysts' expectations.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,997 to 602. On the Nasdaq, 1,553 issues fell and 640 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed 15 new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 50 new highs and 14 new lows.

REUTERS

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