Apple, Broadcom hold back Wall Street gains

Apple, Broadcom hold back Wall Street gains

U.S. stock index futures rose on Friday as new signs of progress in trade relations between the United States and China comforted markets, which have been rankled by a prolonged stand off between the world's two largest economies.

Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 12, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

REUTERS: Losses for U.S. technology majors Apple and Broadcom overturned early gains on Wall Street on Friday, as traders balanced the latest indicators on an uncertain global growth outlook with perceived progress in reducing Sino-U.S. trade tensions.

Broadcom Inc , among the world's biggest chipmakers, weighed on the tech-heavy Nasdaq after it said in results late on Thursday that demand for microchips had bottomed out and that a recovery was not yet on the cards.

That pointed to more headwinds for tech companies buffetted this year by the trade conflict and added to a handful of negative signals for Apple, including a Goldman Sachs cut in its price target for the stock, citing concerns over its new Apple TV+ service.

After an otherwise upbeat start for Wall Street, the two companies together were the main driver in bringing the S&P 500 back to earth.

Having risen to within 0.4per cent of its record high in early trading, the benchmark index was up just 0.2per cent by 11 a.m. et., with financial stocks up 0.44per cent.

"The monitor would be painted with green if not for Apple, Broadcom and Amazon," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

Banks followed U.S. Treasury yields higher after data showed U.S. retail sales rose 0.4per cent in August, lifted by spending on cars, building materials, healthcare and hobbies. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast an increase of 0.2per cent.

"(The data) demonstrates that consumers are still opening their wallets as low unemployment and high consumer confidence coupled with better wages is driving increased consumer spending," said Moody's Vice President Mickey Chadha.

If early gains hold, markets are set for their third straight week of gains, having already recouped losses from August when escalating trade tensions and the inversion of a key part of the U.S. yield curve drove investors toward assets perceived to be safe-havens in the event of a downturn.

The doubts about growth remain but have been soothed this week by a combination of signals of central bank support for the economy and U.S. President Donald Trump's latest comments that he was potentially open to an interim trade deal with China.

On Friday, China's official Xinhua News Agency said the country would exempt some U.S. pork and soybeans from additional tariffs on U.S. goods.

Tyson Foods Inc , the United States' largest meat processor, rose 3.4per cent.

"If you are hoping for a trade deal, the comments that President Trump made are probably the best you could expect right now," said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

However, Pavlik added that a trade deal - interim or otherwise - was not likely to be signed before the 2020 presidential election.

The trade conflict has taken a toll on U.S. manufacturing and tempered global growth, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting that the tit-for-tat tariffs between the United States and China could reduce global GDP in 2020 by 0.8per cent.

Investors are now expecting the U.S. Federal Reserve to cut rates at its policy meeting next week. The European Central Bank announced a sweeping stimulus drive on Thursday to prop up the euro zone economy.

At 10:12 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 28.62 points, or 0.11per cent, at 27,211.07, the S&P 500 was down 0.39 points, or 0.01per cent, at 3,009.18 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 19.78 points, or 0.24per cent, at 8,174.69.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

Source: Reuters