S&P edges lower as Apple weighs, trade tensions ease

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange September 13, 2019. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Sept 14 — The S&P 500 ended the day down slightly yesterday but less than 1 per cent below its all-time high as a drop in Apple stock countered cooling US-China trade tensions.

Tariff-vulnerable industrials helped keep the blue-chip Dow in positive territory, which has now gained in eight straight sessions, its longest winning streak since May 2018.

All three major US stock indexes posted their third straight weekly gains, capping a week that saw signs of a potential thaw in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies, which has gripped markets for months.

Apple Inc was the biggest drag on the major stock averages, falling 1.9 per cent after Goldman Sachs cut its price target for the iPhone maker’s shares.

Beijing announced it would exempt some US agricultural products from additional tariffs after President Donald Trump suggested he could be open to an interim deal, the latest conciliatory gestures by both sides of the trade war ahead of next month’s negotiations in Washington.

“Apple is holding back the averages,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York. “Another factor is we have a huge rally in (Treasury) yields, the 10-year is up substantially. Those two factors are holding back the market and dampening the enthusiasm that some kind of cosmetic trade deal is on its way.”

However, rising Treasury yields did boost interest-rate sensitive financials, which gained 0.8 per cent.

On the economic front, US retail sales increased in August at twice the rate analysts expected, according to the Commerce Department, suggesting that strong consumer spending will continue to support the longest-ever US economic expansion.

“The consumer is pretty cheerful,” Cardillo added. “Going

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