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US: Nasdaq falls on Google weakness, while S&P 500 ends at record

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[NEW YORK] Disappointing results from Google parent Alphabet weighed down the Nasdaq on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 edged to another record ahead of a Federal Reserve policy announcement.

The Nasdaq finished down 0.7 per cent at 8,107.77, ending a two-day streak of fresh records.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.2 per cent to 26,592.91, while the broad-based S&P 500 won 0.1 per cent to 2,945.83, finishing at its third straight record.

US indices were under pressure much of the day as the Fed kicked off a two-day policy meeting, which is expected to conclude with no change in interest rates on Wednesday.

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But as the US central bank kicked off the gathering, US President Donald Trump again slammed the Fed for prior interest rate hikes and called for an interest rate cut.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell will announce the Fed's latest decision on Wednesday and economists and investors will look for any hint in the statement of how central bankers are feeling about the economy and what their next move might be: a hike or a cut.

Meanwhile, economic data released on Tuesday included a surprising jump in consumer confidence for April, according to data from the Conference Board.

Among individual companies, Alphabet sank 7.7 per cent after reporting lower quarterly profits on a hefty European Union antitrust fine and slower revenue growth than analysts expected.

Markets also had a lukewarm reaction to Facebook's revamp, pushing shares of the social network down 0.7 per cent as it released a new smartphone app that emphasises private communications.

Shares in Occidental Petroleum fell 2.1 per cent after the company said Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway had agreed to make a US$10 billion equity investment to help finance its takeover bid for rival Anadarko Petroleum, which edged down 0.1 per cent.

Chevron, which had earlier made a lower bid for Anadarko, rose 1.9 per cent.

Other large companies reporting results had a mixed day, with Pfizer winning 2.5 per cent, McDonald's adding 0.2 per cent and General Electric jumping 4.5 per cent, while General Motors shed 2.6 per cent.

AFP