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US: FedEx, Twitter down as stocks fall


[NEW YORK] US stocks fell early Wednesday, with FedEx dropping on disappointing earnings and Twitter tumbling on an key executive's departure.

The Dow, which finished Tuesday's session within striking distance of 20,000 points, was down 0.1 per cent to 19,960.55 about 35 minutes into trading.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.1 per cent to 2,268.29, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.2 per cent at 5,473.89.

FedEx reported second-quarter earnings after the close Tuesday, which edged up 1.3 per cent to US$700 million.

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But analysts said profits missed forecasts due to the hiring of drivers and others spending. FedEx executives expect US growth to speed up a bit in 2017.

Twitter slumped 3.8 per cent following news Tuesday that chief technology officer Adam Messinger was stepping down, the latest departure as the microblogging service struggles to boost readership.

Enthusiasm on Wall Street also was muted due to worries about Italian banks that dented European stocks. But analysts said a sudden shift in mood still could push the Dow above the 20,000 milestone in the session.

"There is potential for a buying party to break out at any point," said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

Dow member Nike added 0.4 per cent after it reported a seven percent rise in second-quarter earnings to US$842 million.

Executives touted strong growth in China and said they were in the process of reducing product inventory to boost profit margins in North America.

Accenture lost 4.5 per cent as it trimmed its 2017 forecast due to the drag from the strong US dollar. Net income in the quarter ending Nov 30 rose 22.4 per cent to US$1.0 billion.