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US: Apple weighs on Wall Street; energy shares a boost

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[BENGALURU] US stocks dipped on Thursday, pulled lower by Apple after its latest iPhone failed to impress Wall Street, but gains in energy shares limited the decline.

The Nasdaq broke a four-day streak of gains, led by declines in Apple. The stock fell 2.6 per cent to US$105.52 in its biggest daily per centage decline since June 24, when Britain's vote to leave the European Union unleashed a massive sell-off.

The company also said it would not release first-weekend sales of the new iPhone, limiting analysts' early visibility on the popularity of the device unveiled on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 information technology index fell 0.9 per cent and led sector losses, while the S&P energy index was up 1.7 per cent following sharp gains in oil prices.

US stocks have been trading in a tight range in recent months as investors try to assess the outlook for US interest rates and the health of the US economy.

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"People are wondering when and if the Fed is going to move again," said John Carey, portfolio manager at Pioneer Investment Management in Boston.

"There's anxiety about that because of what happened the last time. Even though they raised rates just a quarter of a per cent, that seemed enough to trigger a sale of stocks. There's worry there could be a similar reaction."

Recent weak economic data has underscored views the Federal Reserve may hold off on raising rates at its policy meeting this month. The European Central Bank held interest rates steady, as expected, on Thursday.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 46.23 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 18,479.91, the S&P 500 lost 4.86 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 2,181.3 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 24.44 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 5,259.48.

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise shares fell 3.2 per cent after it agreed to sell its software business to Micro Focus in a US$8.8 billion deal.

Shares of SuperValu slid 9.5 per cent to US$4.95 after it gave a disappointing outlook, a day after Sprouts Farmers Market warned on its profit.

After the bell, shares of Restoration Hardware jumped 10.1 per cent while Zumiez was up 5.4 per cent, both following results.

About 6.8 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges, above the 6.0 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.20-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.03-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 13 new 52-week highs and two new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 109 new highs and 29 new lows.


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