Tech stocks halt mar­ket records

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Stan Choe

U.S. stock in­dexes pulled back from their record highs Thurs­day af­ter an af­ter­noon swoon for tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies helped over­shadow an­other big day for tele­coms.

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex fell 2.41 points, or 0.1 per­cent, from its record set a day ear­lier to close at 2,475.42. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite like­wise fell from a record, down 40.56, or 0.6 per­cent, to 6,382.19. The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age was an ex­cep­tion, and it rose 85.54, or 0.4 per­cent, to 21,796.55 to set an­other all-time high.

Stocks had been on track for an­other quiet day of gains in a year full of them, but Ap­ple, Mi­crosoft and other tech­nol­ogy stocks sud­denly changed di­rec­tion in the af­ter­noon. Af­ter be­ing up as much as 0.6 per­cent in morn­ing trad­ing, tech stocks in the S&P 500 fin­ished the day down 0.8 per­cent. It was the worst per­for­mance among the 11 sec­tors that make up the in­dex.

Soft­ware com­pany CA had the big­gest loss in the S&P 500 and fell $3.55, or 10.2 per­cent, to $31.10. It be­gan to plunge around noon, fol­low­ing re­ports that merger talks be­tween it and BMC Soft­ware have ended.

Close to half of the com­pa­nies in the S&P 500 have re­ported their earn­ings for the lat­est quar­ter, and the re­sults have been mostly en­cour­ag­ing.

Twit­ter dropped $2.77, or 14.1 per­cent, to $16.84. It re­ported bet­ter-than-ex­pected quar­terly re­sults, but it also said that its monthly av­er­age user base did not grow from the prior quar­ter.

Health care stocks were also weak, and drug­maker As­traZeneca sank af­ter it said its lung can­cer drug Imfinzi did not reach its goals in a clin­i­cal trial. U.S.-listed shares of As­traZeneca lost $5.06, or 14.9 per­cent, to $28.88.

On the op­po­site side were tele­com stocks, which ral­lied for a sec­ond straight day. Ver­i­zon Com­mu­ni­ca­tions had its best day in more than eight years af­ter it re­ported more rev­enue than an­a­lysts ex­pected. Many more cus­tomers added wire­less phones than Wall Street had fore­cast. Ver­i­zon jumped $3.41, or 7.7 per­cent, to $47.81.

The price of oil has been on a strong run this week, hit­ting its high­est level since May, and bench­mark U.S. crude rose 29 cents to set­tle at $49.04 Thurs­day. Brent crude, the in­ter­na­tional stan­dard, gained 52 cents to $51.49 a bar­rel.

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