Apple leads gains in tech stocks

Reuters . New York | Update:

The S&P 500 was up slightly on Thursday afternoon and again close to a record high on the back of gains in Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.

The benchmark index is less than half a percent shy of the record it hit 26 January, while the Nasdaq was close to an all-time record as well.

The technology sector has been at the center of a sharp recovery in US stocks since a market rout in February.

Shares of Apple rose 1.1 per cent, while those of Amazon were up 1.0 per cent and Microsoft rose 0.3 per cent.

Technology “is a more important component of every business that operates everywhere. So part of that run up is absolutely justified because of the increasing role of technology,” said Bryan Hinmon, portfolio manager of the Motley Fool Global Opportunities Fund.

Limiting the day’s rise was energy sector. The S&P energy index was down 0.9 per cent. Occidental Petroleum , the largest Permian producer, fell 4.2 per cent after it maintained a tepid production forecast for the year.

At 3:12PM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 13.68 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 25,570.07, the S&P 500 gained 0.98 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 2,858.68 and the Nasdaq Composite added 23.42 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 7,911.75.

The S&P gains came as the latest data pointed to strength in the labour market, underscoring the health of the US economy despite ongoing trade tensions.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, a Labor Department report showed.

Sinclair dropped after Tribune Media dropped its $3.9 billion deal to be acquired by Sinclair and filed a lawsuit against the company for breach of contract. Tribune shares rose.

Rite Aid fell 11.8 per cent after the drug store chain and U.S. grocer Albertsons Cos agreed to terminate their merger agreement.

Chip stocks fell after Morgan Stanley downgraded the U.S. semiconductor industry. Micron, Applied Materials and ON Semiconductor fell.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.15-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.31-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 26 new 52-week highs and 3 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 95 new highs and 58 new lows.

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