Friday August 4, 2017
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The Wall St sign in front of the New York Stock Exchange August 2, 2017. — Reuters picThe Wall St sign in front of the New York Stock Exchange August 2, 2017. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Aug 4 — The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq fell yesterday, weighed down by Amazon.com, Apple and other top-shelf technology stocks, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up to a seventh straight record high.

Stocks lost a little ground late in the session after the Wall Street Journal reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate allegations of Russia's interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

"It's more distraction for the White House and less stability," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Cornerstone Financial Partners. "It definitely was market moving."

The S&P 500 information technology index, which has led other sectors in 2017, dipped 0.35 per cent. Apple lost 1.0 per cent after hitting a record high the day before. It and Amazon.com, down 0.90 per cent, weighed more than any other stocks on the S&P 500.

Silicon Valley electric carmaker Tesla jumped 6.50 per cent after reporting quarterly results above Wall Street's expectations.

Analysts, on average, expect S&P 500 earnings to have grown 11.8 per cent and they project earnings up 9.2 per cent for the September quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The S&P 500 has risen 11 per cent in 2017 and is trading at 18 times expected earnings, pricey compared to its 10-year average of 14, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.

"Earnings are supporting this market and consumers are supporting it from a macroeconomic standpoint," said Phil Blancato, CEO of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management. "This is a Goldilocks economy, good enough to push the market higher, no bubbles in sight."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> edged up 0.04 percent, or 9.86 points, to end at 22,026.1, an all-time high.

On Wednesday, the Dow rose above 22,000 for the first time.

"When you hit these major milestones it's not unusual to trade sideways for a few days," Blancato said.

The S&P 500 lost 0.22 per cent to 2,472.16 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.35 per cent to 6,340.34.

Wall Street has shrugged off a recent failure by a Republican-controlled Congress to overhaul healthcare legislation as well as doubts about how easily President Donald Trump will be able to fulfill promises to cut taxes and increase infrastructure spending.

Investors are watching economic data for clues on the health of the economy ahead of the keenly awaited monthly payrolls data today.

Labour Department data yesterday showed weekly jobless claims fell last week, pointing to a tightening labor market, while a report from the Institute for Supply Management showed its non-manufacturing index fell to 53.9 last month from 57.4 in June.

Yum Brands fell 2.30 per cent, while Dish Network lost 4.52 per cent after releasing their earning reports.

Avon Products fell 10.71 per cent after the cosmetics seller posted an unexpected quarterly loss and said its CEO will step down.

About 6.6 billion shares changed hands in US exchanges, above the 6.1-billion average over the last 20 sessions. — Reuters

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