Nasdaq closes at record; US retail shares slump

Nasdaq rose to a record high close, while other major indexes hovered near their own recent all-time highs, in a session with thin trading volume.
 A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell on Aug 9, 2016.
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell on Aug 9, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - The tech-rich Nasdaq finished at a fresh record Tuesday (Aug 9), but weakness among retailers kept the broader US market essentially flat.

Gains by large technology companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet lifted the Nasdaq Composite Index to its second record in the last three trading sessions.

The Nasdaq gained 0.2 per cent to 5,225.48, eclipsing Friday’s record by four points.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18,533.05 while the S&P 500 ended at 2,181.74. Both indices rose less than 0.1 per cent.

Retail stocks took a hit after Gap reported a four percent decline in comparable store sales for July and a two percent drop for the second quarter, its latest in a string of disappointing results.

Gap slumped 6.3 per cent, Macy’s dropped 2.8 per cent, Target was down 3.2 per cent and Best Buy lost 1.7 per cent.

However, Wal-Mart Stores rose slightly, closing up 0.3 per cent, fresh off its announced US$3.3 billion (S$4.4 billion) deal to acquire the web retailer Jet.com.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International surged 25.4 per cent as it announced plans to sell about US$8 billion in assets as part of an effort to turn around the slumping drugmaker.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings plummeted 11.8 per cent after reporting an 8.3 per cent drop in second-quarter earnings to US$145.2 million. Demand has been dented by the fall in the pound after the British vote to exit the European Union and attacks in France and Germany.