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US: Stocks end mixed as airlines soar

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished mixed on Tuesday, with an upbeat forecast from Delta lifting airlines, while disappointing Walgreens results weighed on the Dow.

After surging more than one percent on Monday, major indices cooled off in the second session of the new year. Downcast commentary from IMF Chief Christine Lagarde also weighed on sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.3 per cent to 26,179.13.

The broad-based S&P 500 was flat at 2,867.24, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.3 per cent to 7,848.69.

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Ms Lagarde, in a speech ahead of next week's spring meetings at the International Monetary Fund, signaled the fund would further trim its global growth forecast in light of Brexit, trade tensions and other issues.

"The expected rebound in global growth this year is precarious," she said in an address at the US Chamber of Commerce. "This is a delicate moment that requires us to handle with care."

Dow companies were mixed, with Walgreens Boots Alliance plunging 12.8 per cent after reporting second-quarter profits below expectations and slashing its 2019 earnings forecast.

The pharmacy chain cited cost pressures and consumer market challenges in the US and Britain. The outlook also weighed on rival CVS Health, which shed 3.8 per cent.

But airlines were lifted after Delta Air Lines its first-quarter profit forecast, citing "record-setting" operational performance in March. Delta surged 6.1 per cent, while American Airlines and United Continental both gained around two percent.

Facebook jumped 3.3 per cent following a positive note from Deutsche Bank, which said a plan to add a "checkout feature" to Instagram that allows users to place orders for goods could add US$10 billion in revenue in 2021.

AFP