S&P 500 flat as Apple overshadows positive trade deal cues

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 was little changed on Tuesday following a three-day rally as a drop in Apple shares overshadowed optimism from remarks made by U.S. and China officials in pledging firm commitment to a Phase One trade deal.

The benchmark S&P 500 opened at a record high as the news eased some concerns the deal could be on shaky ground. Investors also anticipate the centerpiece event of the week – an annual conference of U.S. central bankers where Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq logged new closing highs on Monday, boosted by signs of progress in developing treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

The benchmark index surpassed its pre-pandemic high last week even as recent economic indicators signaled a bumpy recovery from the virus-led downturn. A survey from the Conference Board showed U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in August to a six-year low.

“The market is going to pause and digest the big moves we saw over the last few months and weeks,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of 50 Park Investments in New York.

“For now, the market is acting extremely well. It refuses to pullback. Even the down days are very shallow…speaks volumes to how strong the market is.” Among stocks, Salesforce.com Inc, Amgen Inc and Honeywell International Inc climbed between 3.6% and 4.6% on news they would join the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average index on Aug. 31. Cloud computing heavyweight Salesforce.com is expected to report second-quarter results after markets close. The three companies will replace Exxon Mobil Corp, Pfizer Inc and Raytheon Technologies Corp, which were down between 1.9% and 3%.

Apple Inc’s 1.2% drop weighed heavily on the three main indexes and the shares were on course to end five days of gains. At 11:08 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 122.19 points, or 0.43%, at 28,186.27, the S&P 500 was up 0.50 points, or 0.01%, at 3,431.78. The Nasdaq Composite was up 24.31 points, or 0.21%, at 11,404.03. Medtronic rose 3.9% after the company said demand for medical devices was improving as elective surgeries picked up pace while it posted a plunge in first-quarter profit.

Medtronic and Amgen shares pushed the healthcare sector 0.4% higher. Financials, consumer discretionary, technology and communication services were the other S&P sectors in positive territory. Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy Co Inc fell 5.3% after it warned sales growth may slow in the coming weeks.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.68-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.14-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 24 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 45 new highs and 16 new lows.

Source: reuters.com

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