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Wall Street drifts as Apple slides, energy gains

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were little changed on Wednesday as Apple-led losses in tech stocks were offset by gains in consumer discretionary and energy stocks, which helped the S&P 500 inch up to a record intraday high.

Apple (AAPL.O) dropped 1.1 percent to $159.15 on concerns about the newly-launched iPhone X’s hefty price tag and its later-than-expected availability date of Nov. 3. The stock is still up 37 percent this year so some analysts said it was an opportunity to cash in gains.

“Apple to a certain extent is a ‘sell the news’ event,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York. “A great deal of expectation has been built into the stock.”

Hogan said higher oil prices, on the back of the International Energy Agency’s statement that a global surplus of crude was starting to shrink, sent the S&P energy index .SPNY higher.

Wall Street is coming off a two-day rally that resulted in the three major indexes posting all-time closing highs on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 19.52 points, or 0.09 percent, to 22,138.38, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.21 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,496.27 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 0.94 points, or 0.01 percent, to 6,453.35.

The indexes have stayed near record levels this year despite periodic setbacks caused by turmoil in the White House, the timing of U.S. interest rate hikes, doubts about U.S. President Donald Trump’s ability to push through his pro-business reforms, and lately, tensions over a nuclear-weapons capable North Korea.

Shares of credit Score provider Equifax (EFX.N) tumbled 12.3 percent to $101.66 after CEO Richard Smith’s apology for a massive data breach failed to appease investors.

“Of course it should be getting pounded and the situation is only getting worse,” said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O’Neil Securities in New York. “They have a huge problem on their hands. The fact the (CEO) has been so cavalier – it took him five days to write a response – it’s a disaster.”

Target (TGT.N) rose 2.7 percent to $59.48 after the retailer said it would hire 100,000 workers for the holiday season, 43 percent more than last year.

McDonald’s (MCD.N) boosted the Dow with a 0.9-percent rise a day after dropping 3.2 percent, the most in more than a year, while Amazon’s (AMZN.O) 0.7-percent rise helped keep Nasdaq’s losses in check.

Nordstrom (JWN.N) gained 6.0 percent to $47.77 after the founding family selected private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners to help take it private.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.10-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.24-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 31 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 93 new highs and 13 new lows.

Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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