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US: Weak Apple dents US stocks; retailers rise on strong holiday sales


[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks dipped Tuesday with worries about Apple's new smartphone hitting some technology shares, but oil and retail-linked shares rising.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped the most of the three major indices, sliding 0.3 per cent to close at 6,936.25 in the first session after Christmas that saw low trading volumes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down less than 0.1 per cent at 24,746.48, while the broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.1 per cent to end at 2,680.50.

Apple, the biggest US company by market capitalisation, slumped 2.5 per cent following a report in Taiwan's Economic Daily warning of weak demand for the iPhone X. Apple suppliers such as Broadcom and Skyworks Solutions also fell.

Some other prominent technology shares retreated, including Netflix, which lost 1.2 per cent, and Tesla Motors which tumbled 2.4 per cent.

Analysts said the trading pattern suggested a rotation of funds from high-flying technology companies to retailers, which have spent much of 2017 under pressure.

But as retail experts pointed to signs of a strong US holiday shopping season, Macy's jumped 4.6 per cent, while Wal-Mart Stores climbed 1.0 per cent and Williams-Sonoma 1.5 per cent.

Mastercard SpendingPulse estimated sales growth for the season at 4.9 per cent, the strongest annual boost since 2011.

Petroleum-linked shares were another outperformer as oil prices finished at a two-year high after peaking above $60 a barrel following a pipeline explosion in Libya.

Dow member Chevron gained 0.8 per cent, Halliburton 1.6 per cent and Devon Energy 2.4 per cent.