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US: Stocks end banner year on losing note

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[NEW YORK] A sell-off in some tech giants weighed on the Nasdaq and the broader market Friday, the final trading session of an otherwise buoyant 2017.

Tech giants Amazon and Apple were among the bigger losers as US stocks weakened in the last hour of trading, a fall that likely was exacerbated by light trading volumes in the holiday period.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5 per cent to end 2017 at 24,719.22, a sour finish to a year that saw the blue-chip index notch the most records since its creation in 1896.

The broad-based S&P 500 index also dropped 0.5 per cent to close the year at 2,673.61, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 0.7 per cent to end at 6,903.39.

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Apple, the biggest company by market capitalisation, fell 1.1 per cent after apologising to customers for a problem with its older iPhone batteries that slowed performance, and announcing it will offer discount replacement batteries for some models.

Amazon dropped 1.4 per cent after the online retailer again found itself under fire from President Donald Trump, who took to Twitter to accuse the US Postal Service of undercharging the company for deliveries.

Other shares that fell by more than one per cent included Priceline, Symantec and the biotech company Gilead Sciences.

Goldman Sachs dropped 0.7 per cent after disclosing that it expects a US$5 billion earnings hit in the fourth quarter due to taxes on the repatriation of overseas profits under the new tax reform law.

AFP