US stocks fall, shrugging off strong Apple earnings

VIDEO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished solidly lower on Wednesday (May 2) as the market shrugged off strong Apple earnings and a Federal Reserve decision not to hike interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.7 per cent at 23,924.98.

The broad-based S&P 500 also fell 0.7 per cent to close at 2,635.67, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.4 per cent to 7,100.90.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, said the declines reflect "resistance" amid worries over a trade war, tightening monetary policy and ongoing political turmoil in Washington.

President Donald Trump's attorney Ty Cobb on Wednesday became the latest staffer to exit the White House as a probe into the presidential campaign's contacts with Russia picks up speed.

"You've got a whole bunch of macro news juxtaposed with strong earnings that are largely being ignored," Hogan said.

"It's a market that gets sold on rallies rather than bought on dips."

Hogan was troubled that strong earnings from Apple did not ignite a broader rally.

Apple shares jumped 4.4 per cent after reporting better-than-expected earnings late Tuesday and unveiling a new US$100 billion (S$130 billion) share buyback plan.

The outcome was similar to last week, when Amazon shares jumped on strong earnings, but the broader market ignored the results.

 

The Fed, meanwhile, kept interest rates unchanged as expected as it acknowledged an uptick in inflation while continuing to pledge further gradual increases in the benchmark lending rate.

Analysts said the Fed decision kept the odds high that the US central bank would lift rates again in June, but would not accelerate the pace of rate increases.

Gilead Sciences plunged 7.8 per cent after reporting a 43.1 per cent drop in first-quarter profit to US$1.5 billion following a big drop in sales for hepatitis drugs.

Snap plummeted 22.1 per cent as it reported a US$386 million loss and lower-than-expected quarterly revenues.