A screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the rate decision of the Federal Reserve, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018.

AP Photo/Richard Drew

Apple soars but energy, industrial stocks weigh on market

August 01, 2018 - 4:32 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple is on pace for its biggest gain in a year and a half Wednesday as investors cheer its latest quarterly report, which included strong iPhone sales and a forecast that was better than expected. But other stocks are falling, with industrial and energy companies taking the worst losses. The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged, as expected.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index slid 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,813 as of 3:20 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 66 points, or 0.3 percent, to 25,348. The jump in Apple stock was worth 68 Dow points, but drops in industrial and energy companies pulled the index lower.

The Nasdaq composite added 27 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,699, but the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,667.

Almost two-thirds of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange traded lower.

The S&P 500 index rose 3.6 percent in July in spite of the trade war between the U.S. and China. The markets got a lift from strong company earnings as well as efforts by the U.S. and European Union to resolve their trade differences.

APPLE EARNINGS: Apple said the average selling price for the iPhone jumped 20 percent in its latest quarter and its third-quarter profit and sales both surpassed analyst projections. Apple's third fiscal quarter is usually its weakest. The company's forecast for fourth-quarter revenue also topped Wall Street estimates.

Apple surged 5.3 percent to $200.43. That put the most valuable publicly traded U.S. company on track to set another all-time high. Market watchers have also been wondering if Apple will soon become the first publicly traded company to surpass $1 trillion in value. It's currently at about $985 billion.

FED STANDS PAT: The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged and suggested it plans to keep raising rates as long as the economy stays healthy. The central bank noted the labor market continues to get stronger and the economy is growing at a strong clip, while inflation has reached its target of 2 percent a year.

AROUND THE MARKET: Automakers mostly slid. Ferrari dropped 11 percent to $118 after new CEO Louis Camilleri warned that the company might not be able to reach the revenue targets outlined by his predecessor, the late Sergio Marchionne.

Industrial companies changed course again and took sharp losses. Bloomberg News reported that the Trump administration might put a 25 percent tax on $200 billion in imports from China, above the 10 percent it has been considering. China again threatened to retaliate. A day earlier, stocks got a boost from a report the two sides were hoping to hold more talks to resolve the trade war.

THE QUOTE: China can't match the size of the tariffs the U.S. could put on Chinese exports. But Katie Nixon, chief investment officer for Northern Trust Wealth Management, said the Chinese government is counteracting the new and proposed tariffs by pumping more money into the economy and weakening its currency.

"They're sending a strong signal that they cannot just withstand, but they can manage through a period of turmoil related to the negotiations and they're prepared to do that."

BONDS: Bond prices sank. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.99 percent from 2.96 percent.

Higher yields force interest rates on mortgages and other loans higher, making it more profitable for banks to lend money. However rising yields drew investors to bonds and away from high-dividend stocks like consumer goods makers.

BURNING THROUGH EARNINGS: SodaStream jumped 26 percent to $109.98 after the maker of beverage carbonation systems raised its annual forecasts following a strong quarterly report. Clothing maker Hanesbrands plunged 18.8 percent to $18.07 after it posted a smaller-than-expected profit and said Target won't renew a contract for an exclusive line of Champion clothing when the deal expires in January 2020.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 2 percent to $67.66 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 2.5 percent to $72.39 per barrel in London.

Exxon Mobil slid 1.2 percent to $80.51 and Chevron lost 0.6 percent to $125.55.

Wholesale gasoline sank 1.7 percent to $2.05 a gallon. Heating oil gave up 1.9 percent to $2.10 a gallon. Natural gas dipped 0.9 percent to $2.76 per 1,000 cubic feet.

JOBS SURVEY: ADP said hiring picked up in June, suggesting employers are still able to find the workers they need despite the low unemployment rate. The federal government will release a jobs report Friday that covers hiring by private and public employers.

METALS: The price of gold gave up 0.5 percent to $1,227.60 an ounce. Silver fell 0.7 percent to $15.45 an ounce and copper plunged 3 percent to $2.75 a pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 111.56 yen from 111.83 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1664 from $1.1697.

OVERSEAS: Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 1.2 percent and Germany's DAX fell 0.5 percent. The French CAC 40 dipped 0.2 percent.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.9 percent and South Korea's Kospi added 0.5 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 0.9 percent.

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