Wall Street opens lower as Apple stocks weigh in

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City. PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The S&P and the Dow opened little changed on Wednesday, but the Nasdaq Composite was pulled lower by a 1 per cent fall in Apple's shares on concerns about the new iPhone X's hefty price tag and delayed shipping.

A Nov. 3 shipping date for the iPhone X, priced at US$999 (S$1,345), raised questions about supply constraints ahead of the holiday season.

The three major Wall Street indexes hit record highs on Tuesday as the market closed higher for the second straight day. The indexes have been hitting record highs this year as they bounce back from periodic setbacks caused by turmoil in Washington, questions over US interest rate hikes, doubts about the Trump administration's ability to push through its pro-business reforms, and lately, tensions over North Korea.

"The slight weakness we're seeing this morning is after a two-day rally. The fundamentals and technicals, however, remain strong," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

At 9:37 a.m. ET (9:37 p.m. Singapore time), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 7.76 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 22,126.62 and the S&P 500 was down 1.74 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 2,494.74. The Nasdaq Composite was down 13.77 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 6,440.51.

"There are concerns over the bull run, which is on several hope factors. But the list of worries is still there ... That would dampen the prospect of a stronger stock market," Mr Cardillo said. Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with financials leading the decliners. The energy index was up 0.65 per cent as oil prices rose after the International Energy Agency said a global surplus of crude was starting to shrink.

Apple's shares were down 1.08 per cent at US$159.17. Centene rose about 6 per cent after the health insurer said it would buy privately held Fidelis Care for US$3.75 billion.

Western Digital fell more than 3.75 per cent after Toshiba agreed to focus on selling its chips unit to a group led by Bain Capital and SK Hynix, but did not rule out a deal with other bidders.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,266 to 1,195. On the Nasdaq, 1,308 issues fell and 954 advanced.

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