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US: Amazon, health stocks weigh on S&P, Nasdaq; Chevron lifts Dow

[NEW YORK] The S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq were weighed down by Amazon and healthcare stocks on Friday, while Chevron lifted the Dow.

Shares of were set for their worst day in nearly nine months, falling 4.7 per cent to US$780.17 after the online retailer warned heavy investments in the crucial holiday quarter would drag profits.

"Right now we're seeing this tug-of-war between the sentiment that the earnings recession is ending versus worry when big companies such as Amazon and Apple fail to live up to expectations," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

Investors expect the third quarter to mark the end of a year-long earnings recession as more companies beat expectations.

Profits at S&P 500 companies are expected to rise 2.6 percent, helped largely by financial companies, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. However, energy companies are expected to take the biggest hit.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, while healthcare sector was down 2 per cent due to Amgen and AbbVie.

Chevron rose 2.7 per cent after its quarterly profit beat expectations.

At 9:44 am ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 43.28 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 18,212.96.

The S&P 500 was up 0.43 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 2,133.47 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 8.83 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 5,207.14.

Data on Friday showed the US economy grew at its fastest pace in two years. Gross domestic product increased at a 2.9 per cent annual rate in the third quarter, helped by a surge in exports, the first estimate by the US Commerce Department revealed.

Shares of Exxon Mobil fell 0.3 per cent to US$86.68 on Friday after the oil giant reported a drop in quarterly earnings.

Google parent Alphabet was up 1.4 per cent to US$828.30 after the company's third-quarter revenue and profit beat analysts' expectations.

MasterCard rose 2.1 per cent to US$105.80 after the world's second-biggest payments processor reported a 21.2 per cent jump in quarterly profit.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,571 to 1,003. On the Nasdaq, 1,221 issues rose and 1,000 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed six new 52-week highs and nine new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 21 new highs and 63 new lows.