Dow, S&P 500 decline after Apple's sales warning

Reuters NEW YORK | Updated on February 19, 2020

Dow down 0.6%, S&P down 0.3%, Nasdaq up 0.02%

The Dow and S&P 500 fell on Tuesday after a sales warning from Apple left investors assessing the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on U.S. companies.

But indexes ended off the day's lows, and the Nasdaq ended a touch higher as Apple Inc trimmed its losses in late-session trading.

The world's most valuable technology firm said it would fall short of its recently announced quarterly sales target because of slower iPhone production and weaker demand in China due to the virus. Its shares ended down 1.8% at $319, while its low of the session was $314.61.

“Certainly this was not welcome news, but I don't think it's a debacle either,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

“In general, investors are not overly concerned by the news from Apple as a read through to technology or the market overall.”

While the exact hit to economic and earnings growth from the epidemic in China remains to be seen, hopes that the damage would only be temporary have helped boost confidence on Wall Street in recent sessions.

Still, Apple suppliers, Qualcomm Inc, Broadcom Inc , Qorvo Inc and Skyworks Solutions Inc , all ended down between 1% and about 2% on the day.

China-exposed chipmakers slipped, with the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index shedding 1.4%, while the broader S&P technology sector lost 0.4%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 165.89 points, or 0.56%, to 29,232.19, the S&P 500 lost 9.87 points, or 0.29%, to 3,370.29.

The Nasdaq Composite added 1.57 points, or 0.02%, to 9,732.74, eking out a record closing high.

Walmart Inc shares rose 1.5% even after the world's biggest retailer forecast slowing online growth for the year and reported weak results for the holiday quarter.

Conagra Brands Inc shed 6.1% after the packaged food company lowered its full-year profit and sales outlook.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.37-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.21-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 71 new 52-week highs and seven new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 127 new highs and 66 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 7.23 billion shares, compared to the 7.61 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Published on February 19, 2020

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