Tech stocks halt market records
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.