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US: Stocks dip, Apple rises on iPhone order report

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks dipped Monday amid a dearth of economic data for guidance, while Apple climbed following a bullish report on new iPhone orders.

Analysts described trade as sluggish, with the market keeping its focus on US monetary policy and the prospects of higher interest rates. Though Monday was quiet as far as economic data, this week's calendar includes data on home sales, durable goods orders and the second estimate of US economic growth for the first quarter.

An address Friday by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will be monitored for interest-rate clues ahead of the US central bank's June monetary policy meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1 per cent to 17,492.93.

The broad-based S&P lost 0.2 per cent at 2,048.04, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.1 per cent at 4,765.78.

Apple jumped 1.3 per cent after Taiwan's Economic Daily News reported the technology giant ordered at least 72 million units of the upcoming iPhone 7 series, a significantly higher figure than the 65 million-level previously predicted by some analysts.

Monsanto surged 4.4 per cent after German chemicals giant Bayer announced a US$62 billion bid for the US agricultural giant. Monsanto has not responded publicly to the offer, which comes amid a wave of consolidation in the agrochemical sector.

Tribune Publishing plunged 15 per cent as it rejected a takeover proposal from Gannett as "clearly inadequate" but said it was willing to work with Gannett to see "whether there is a path forward that will create more value for both sets of shareholders." Gannett dropped 2.4 per cent.

Stocks tied to raw materials advanced, with aluminum producer Alcoa rising 1.9 per cent, copper and gold miner Freeport-McMoRan 2.7 per cent and United States Steel 3.4 per cent.