Nasdaq ends at new record; oil shares fall

NEW YORK (AFP) - The Nasdaq jumped to a fresh record on Thursday (April 27) ahead of earnings reports from Amazon and other technology giants after the market close, while weakness in oil prices hit petroleum-linked equities.

Investors were looking ahead to a torrent of earnings from large technology companies later on Thursday, including Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft and Expedia. All finished in positive territory.

But oil company Apache fell 3.3 per cent and oil services giant Schlumberger lost 1.7 per cent as US oil prices fell further below US$50 a barrel on worries about excess supply.

The Nasdaq finished at a record for the third time in four sessions at 6,048.94, up 0.4 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added less than 0.1 per cent to close the day at 20,981.39, while the broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.1 per cent to end at 2,388.77.

Among oil companies, Anadarko was especially weak, losing 5.3 per cent as it shut 3,000 producing wells in Colorado after two people were killed in an April 17 explosion near the company's drilling operations. Anadarko said the wells would be shut until they can be inspected and more is known about what caused the accident.

Airline shares were in sharp retreat after American Airlines said it was boosting employee pay to bring flight attendants and pilots into line with competitor carriers. American lost 5.2 per cent, Delta Air Lines 1.4 per cent and United Continental 0.9 per cent.

Separately, United said it reached an undisclosed settlement with David Dao, a 69-year-old customer who was violently dragged off a United flight earlier this month, sparking global outrage.

Bristol-Myers Squibb rose 3.5 per cent after reporting a 31.7 per cent in earnings to US$1.6 billion (S$2.2 billion).

PayPal surged 6.2 per cent after announcing it authorised up to US$5 billion in share repurchases as it reported a 5 per cent increase in first-quarter earnings to US$384 million.