US stocks retreat from record high

US stocks have barreled to repeat records in recent weeks on expectations for strong corporate earnings and tax cuts under President Donald Trump.
US stocks have barreled to repeat records in recent weeks on expectations for strong corporate earnings and tax cuts under President Donald Trump.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks retreated from records early Thursday amid a deluge of earnings reports, as a weeks-long rally in equities showed signs of fatigue.

Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare pointed to talk of several potential catalysts for the sudden sell-off, including worries about the European Union due to the Catalonia political crisis and unease over Chinese debt levels.

"One can find news triggers to rationalise the selling, but what's happening this morning isn't anything more than a mechanical act of some overdue selling," he said in a note.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 23,069.58, down 0.4 per cent. The blue-chip index closed above 23,000 for the first time on Wednesday.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.4 per cent to 2,550.44, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.9 per cent to 6,566.92.

US stocks have barreled to repeat records in recent weeks on expectations for strong corporate earnings and tax cuts under President Donald Trump.

A heavy earnings calendar included a report from Verizon Communications, which gained 3.1 per cent after notching a 0.3 per cent dip in third-quarter earnings of US$3.7 billion. Revenues rose 2.5 per cent to US$31.7 billion.

Fellow Dow member American Express fell 0.7 per cent after announcing that longtime chief executive Kenneth Chenault will retire in February, to be replaced by vice chairman Stephen Squeri.

The credit card company reported third-quarter earnings of US$1.3 billion, up 19 per cent from the year-ago period.

Others to report earnings included United Continental, which fell 3.8 per cent and eBay, which slumped 4.2 per cent.