Disney, Boeing hit Dow; Nasdaq ends at another record

NEW YORK (AFP) - Weakness in Boeing and Disney hit the Dow on Wednesday (May 10), but the Nasdaq edged to another record as investors digested - and brushed off - President Donald Trump's shock firing of FBI director James Comey.

Disney was the biggest loser in the blue-chip index, shedding 2.2 per cent on worries about its ESPN sports network, while Boeing fell 1.3 per cent on news it suspended flight tests of its new 737 plane because of engine problems.

Analysts were surprised markets didn't react more to the Comey firing, which has raised echoes of Watergate, the 1970s political scandal that ended Richard Nixon's presidency. The FBI is investigating Russian ties to the White House, and Comey had reportedly asked for more funds to pursue the case.

"The big story of the day really is the market is taking the Comey firing pretty well, considering it further decreases the prospects for tax reform, infrastructure spending, any sort of stimulus," said Karl Haeling of LBBW.

"To me, it's one more confirmation that what's driving the market is not really expectations for fiscal stimulus. It's really driven more by earnings."

With declines in some major shares, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 per cent to close the session at 20,943.11.

But the broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.1 per cent to 2,399.63, as did tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index which ended at 6,129.14, its fourth straight record close.

Abercrombie & Fitch surged 12.2 per cent following reports it is in talks with at least two companies on a possible takeover.

Organic grocery chain Whole Foods Market fell 0.9 per cent on reports it plans to replace more than half of its 12 directors following pressure from activist fund Jana Partners.

Energy companies advanced as oil prices rose, with Dow member Chevron winning 1.4 per cent, ConocoPhillips 2.9 per cent and Halliburton 1.7 per cent.

Other companies with big share price moves after earnings reports included Electronic Arts, up 13.1 per cent, Nvidia, up 17.8 per cent, Priceline, down 4.5 per cent and Yelp, down 18.4 per cent.