Dow ends at record; Nasdaq rally fizzles amid tech sell-off

NEW YORK (AFP) - The Nasdaq's streak of all-time high closes ended on Thursday (July 27) amid a sell-off in tech stocks, but the Dow rode strong earnings from Verizon and others to another record.

The Nasdaq dropped 0.6 per cent to close at 6,382.19, ending a three-day run of records, and multiple records over the last two weeks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at its second straight record at 21,796.55, up 0.4 per cent, while the S&P 500 shed 0.1 per cent to end at 2,475.42.

The Nasdaq decline came as tech stocks like Apple, Google-parent Alphabet and Netflix were primed for profit-taking after posting handsome gains in recent weeks, analysts said. Those stocks each fell 1.5 per cent or more.

"You've had a pretty incredible run, and I think you have a general sense that a lot of good news is priced into the market," said Mr Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

Verizon led the Dow, surging 7.7 per cent after announcing it generated 614,000 new wireless subscribers in the second quarter, far above analyst expectations.

Procter & Gamble, another Dow component, won 1.6 per cent after reporting better-than-expected quarterly profits and projecting higher sales in fiscal 2018.

Boeing, which wowed the market on Wednesday with strong earnings, tacked on 3.2 per cent more after winning upgrades from several leading Wall Street analysts.

An exception to the tech sell-off was Facebook, which gained 2.9 per cent after reporting a 71 per cent increase in second-quarter profits to US$3.9 billion on big gains in money-making ads.

In contrast, social media rival Twitter dived 14.1 per cent after reporting a loss of US$116 million amid flat user growth and falling revenues.

In non-earnings news, retailers were boosted after the White House and congressional Republicans abandoned a border adjustment tax proposal, which had sparked widespread anxiety throughout the industry. Wal-Mart Stores advanced 1.1 per cent, Target 2 per cent and Best Buy 2.7 per cent.

Automatic Data Processing surged 9.1 per cent following reports activist investor Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital management took a stake in the business outsourcing company.