Apple, United Continental fall as Dow ekes out another record

A rally in utilites and healthcare stocks helped the Dow and S&P 500 come back to close flat Thursday on the 30th anniversary of the Black Monday crash.

NEW YORK (AFP) - Tech giants, including Apple, and the airline United Continental were among the big losers on Thursday (Oct 19) as the Dow scraped out another record but the Nasdaq fell.

US stocks were under pressure the entire session, but both the Dow and S&P 500 eked out records after opening lower and staying negative most of the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up less than 0.1 per cent to 23,163.04, its fourth straight record.

The broad-based S&P 500 also eked out a fresh record, finishing up a hair at 2,562.10, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.3 per cent to 6,605.07.

Analysts said a pullback wasn't surprising given that stocks have risen with little break since early September.

Apple slid 2.4 per cent amid speculation of poor sales for its latest smartphone, the iPhone 8. Other tech names that fell included Google parent Alphabet, which lost 0.8 per cent and Tesla Motors, which shed 2.2 per cent.

United Continental sank 12 per cent following a contentious conference call with analysts following a disappointing earnings forecast. United projected that the pre-tax profit margin would decline to three-to-five per cent in the fourth quarter from 9.9 per cent in the third quarter.

But other companies rallied after earnings, with Verizon Communications gaining 1.2 per cent after notching a 0.3 per cent dip in third-quarter earnings of US$3.7 billion (S$5 billion). Revenues rose 2.5 per cent to US$31.7 billion.

General Electric jumped 2 per cent ahead of its third-quarter earnings report Friday morning.

Adobe Systems surged 12.2 per cent after delivering a strong 2018 forecast during an investor presentation. The software company forecast a 20 per cent rise in revenues to US$8.7 billion with growth in key cloud and digital media businesses.