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US: Wall St snaps three-day rally as Apple falls, trade optimism fades


[NEW YORK] US stocks snapped a three-day rally on Friday as Apple shares dropped following a disappointing forecast and the White House dampened optimism over US-China trade talks.

Apple Inc tumbled 6.6 per cent, sending its market value below US$1 trillion at the close, a day after the iPhone maker warned that sales for the crucial holiday quarter may miss expectations. Apple in August had become the first publicly listed US company with a US$1 trillion market value.

The forecast dragged down shares of Apple's US suppliers, mostly chipmakers, and pushed the S&P technology sector down 1.9 per cent.

"The tone was set by Apple's earnings. That's clearly been a headwind all day," said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer, North Star Investment Management Corp, Chicago.

Mr Kuby also cited weak earnings from Kraft Heinz as having an effect on the broader market. "With Kraft, you have two different types of companies that were disappointing," he said.

Remarks by White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on CNBC about trade talks with China also dampened the mood. While President Donald Trump will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping this month, he has not asked US officials to draw up a proposed trade plan, Mr Kudlow said, contradicting a report earlier in the day that had buoyed hopes of a trade dispute resolution.

Stocks extended losses following Mr Kudlow's comments, and the trade-sensitive S&P 500 industrial index, which was up earlier in the session, closed down 0.3 per cent.

"That tells you tariffs are still a factor, and from the reaction we saw there, that tells me it's a heavier weighting in the investment decision than what people were anticipating before," said Michael Matousek, head trader at US Global Investors Inc in San Antonio, which manages about US$1.3 billion.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 109.91 points, or 0.43 per cent, to 25,270.83, the S&P 500 lost 17.31 points, or 0.63 per cent, to 2,723.06, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 77.06 points, or 1.04 per cent, to 7,356.99.

Still, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq registered their biggest weekly percentage gains since May, while the Dow posted its biggest weekly gain since June. For the week, the S&P 500 and Dow each rose 2.4 per cent and the Nasdaq climbed 2.7 per cent.

Economic data was healthy, with the Labor Department's payrolls report showing job growth rebounded sharply in October, pointing to further labor market tightening that could encourage the Federal Reserve to raise benchmark interest rates in December.

Shares of Kraft Heinz Co fell 9.7 per cent after the company missed quarterly earnings estimates and cited steep commodity costs, other expenses and pricing promotions that overshadowed higher-than-expected sales.

Other earnings reports were more upbeat.

Chevron Corp gained 3.2 per cent after reporting its quarterly profit doubled on record oil and gas production.

Starbucks Corp shares hit a record high and closed up 9.7 per cent, a day after the coffee chain reported strong sales in the United States and China.

Overall, third-quarter results have been stronger than expected, with about 78 per cent of the reports so far beating analysts' estimates, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.29-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.07-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted eight new 52-week highs and five new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 41 new highs and 53 new lows.

About 8.9 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges. That compares with the 8.8 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days.


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