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US: Stocks pull back amid unease over growth, trade

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Wall Street stocks finished lower on Thursday as worries over global growth and the US-China trade war offset strong earnings reports from Apple and Facebook.

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished lower on Thursday as worries over global growth and the US-China trade war offset strong earnings reports from Apple and Facebook.

The S&P 500 had closed at a record on Wednesday following a Federal Reserve interest rate cut but analysts said the subsequent pullback suggested unease that the Fed signaled it would hold off on further interest rate cuts.

"The market now is concerned we are still seeing some slowness," said Stephanie Lewicky, a senior manager of futures and forex at TD Ameritrade.

"And with Fed Chair Powell saying that we're probably going to pause for December, there's a little bit of concern."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.5 per cent to 27,046.37.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.3 per cent to 3,037.58, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.1 per cent at 8,292.36.

Analysts said investors were also perturbed by a Bloomberg report that Chinese officials are skeptical of a long-term trade deal with the United States.

Large industrial companies had a bad session, with Boeing and Caterpillar both losing 1.8 per cent and 3M 2.0 per cent.

Apple gained 2.3 per cent as it reported better-than-expected results on strong growth in digital services and wearables that helped offset slower iPhone sales.

Facebook climbed 1.8 per cent after reporting higher profits on a growing user base while controversy over the company's data collection practices and acceptance of political ads did not crimp results.

Altria dropped 2.6 per cent as it announced a US$4.5 billion charge related to its investment in Juul, an e-cigarette company. The vaping business has come under scrutiny following a series of deaths connected to e-cigarettes.

AFP

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