Shares of carmakers fall on weak sales; new Nasdaq record

NEW YORK (AFP) - Shares of automakers slumped on Tuesday (May 2) on weak April US car sales, but airline stocks gained after a congressional hearing on the industry's customer service problems was not as punitive as feared.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2 per cent to close the day at 20,949.89.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.1 per cent to end at 2,391.17, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite inched up 0.1 per cent to 6,095.37, finishing at a new record for the second straight day.

Shares of Ford fell 4.3 per cent and General Motors dropped 2.9 per cent after the automakers reported declines in US sales in April, in a sign the multi-year auto boom is ebbing.

But United Continental airlines jumped 5.2 per cent after chief executive Oscar Munoz apologised again for the violent removal of a passenger from an overbooked flight last month, this time in testimony on Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers on the House transportation committee in the hearing on the industry's customer service problems threatened new regulation on airlines if they fail to improve performance.

American Airlines and Delta Air Lines both rose more than four percent.

Attention also was focused on Apple, which was scheduled to report earnings later on Tuesday. Apple shares gained 0.6 per cent.

Investors are also looking ahead to Wednesday's monetary policy announcement from the Federal Reserve, although no move in interest rates is expected.

Advanced Micro Devices plunged 24.3 per cent after reporting a loss of US$38 million in the first quarter.

Among other companies reporting earnings, Coach surged 11.4 per cent, CVS Health lost 3.6 per cent and Mastercard climbed 1.5 per cent.