Wall Street muted as Apple overshadows positive trade deal cues

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes slipped 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 that 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.

“Both countries believe it’s in their interest to cut a deal and are making noise that they don’t want to let political concerns to interfere with the trade and also disrupt the world economy,” said Christopher Grisanti, chief equity strategist at MAI Capital Management in Cleveland, Ohio.

The S&P 500 and the 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 hit a six-year low.

Among stocks, Salesforce.com Inc, Amgen Inc and Honeywell International Inc climbed between 2.9% and 5% on news they would join the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average index on Aug. 31. Cloud computing heavyweight Salesforce.com is also 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 1.4% and 1.9%.

Apple Inc slipped 1.7%, set to snap a five-day winning streak and weighing heavily on the three main indexes.At 10:08 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 85.39 points, or 0.30%, at 28,223.07, the S&P 500 was down 1.85 points, or 0.05%, at 3,429.43. The Nasdaq Composite was down 17.34 points, or 0.15%, at 11,362.38.

The healthcare sector, which got a lift from Amgen and Medtronic shares, as well as economically-sensitive financials and industrials, outperformed among the major S&P sectors.Medtronic rose 3.7% 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.

J.M. Smucker Co jumped 8.3% after the Folgers coffee maker raised its forecast for fiscal 2021 adjusted profit.

Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy Co Inc fell 7% as it warned sales growth may slow in the coming weeks.

Advancing issues matched decliners on the NYSE and outnumbered them by a 1.27-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 21 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 38 new highs and 12 new lows.

Source: reuters.com

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