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VOL. 42 | NO. 35 | Friday, August 31, 2018

Health and tech stocks dip; Amazon flirts with $1 trillion

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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks finished lower Tuesday as losses for health care and technology companies canceled out gains for banks. Another gain for Amazon briefly brought its market value to $1 trillion.

Banks rose as interest rates climbed. Nike slumped after it gave a major endorsement deal to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, known for his protests of police brutality and racial injustice.

Investors didn't commit to many big moves as trading resumed after the Labor Day holiday. They are likely to focus on trade this week, as the U.S. is scheduled to resume trade talks with Canada on Wednesday and could announce new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports later in the week.

Mark Hackett, chief of investment research at financial services firm Nationwide, said investors are paying less attention to trade-related headlines recently because they are fairly certain they know how the talks will end.

"I'm still pretty confident that before midterms or by the end of the year we're going to have a handshake agreement with the NAFTA region and China," he said.

The S&P 500 index gave up 4.80 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,896.72. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 12.34 points to 25,952.48. The Nasdaq composite fell 18.29 points, or 0.2 percent, to 8,091.25. The Russell 2000 index lost 7.38 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,733.38.

The S&P 500 has risen in eight of the past nine weeks and closed at an all-time high Wednesday.

Drugmakers and suppliers took some of the sharpest losses Tuesday, and big technology companies including Facebook and Alphabet, Google's parent company, also slumped.

Nike stock fell 3.2 percent to $79.60 after the company said Kaepernick will be one of the faces of its 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign. Investors feared a possible backlash from customers.

Two seasons ago Kaepernick began a wave of protests by NFL players, kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. He hasn't played in the NFL since the end of the 2016 season and is suing the league, saying owners conspired to keep him out of the game because of his protests of social injustice.

Tesla skidded 4.2 percent to $288.95 after a Goldman Sachs analyst said the company will face rising competition from other electric car makers as an important federal tax credit is phased out, while its spending is likely to increase further.

Goldman analyst David Tamberrino expects the stock to fall to $210 in six months.

Amazon briefly traded above $1 trillion in market value, a milestone only Apple has surpassed among publicly-traded U.S. companies. Amazon finished with a gain of 1.3 percent to $2,039.51, which gave it a market value of $995 billion.

Apple reached the $1 trillion mark on Aug. 2 and is now valued at $1.1 trillion. According to S&P Dow Jones Indices, Amazon and Apple combined account for 8 percent of the current value of the S&P 500.

Talks to keep Canada in a revised North American trade deal are scheduled to resume Wednesday as Washington and Ottawa try to break a deadlock over issues such as Canada's dairy market and U.S. efforts to shield drug companies from generic competition.

The U.S. and Mexico announced a preliminary trade deal last week, and while the Trump administration has threatened to leave Canada out of a final deal, investors doubt that will happen.

Hackett, of Nationwide, said talks with China are far more complicated, but investors feel the Chinese government will ultimately make significant concessions. He said that's reflected in the gains for U.S. stocks in recent months and the losses for indexes in China and other emerging markets.

"Investors are pretty solidly betting that the U.S. is going to quote-unquote win the trade war," he said.

Chinese e-commerce company JD.com slid 6.1 percent to $29.38 after founder and CEO Richard Liu was arrested in Minneapolis. Liu was arrested late Friday on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct and was released pending charges. JD.com said he has returned to China.

Bond prices dropped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.90 percent from 2.85 percent.

Banks made modest gains as higher long-term interest rates mean they make more money from mortgages and other types of loans. High-dividend companies including real estate and household goods makers fell, as investors sold those stocks and bought bonds instead.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 0.1 percent to $69.87 a barrel in New York. Brent Crude, used to price international oils, was little changed at $78.17 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline dipped 0.1 percent to $1.99 a gallon. Heating oil rose 0.5 percent to $2.25 a gallon. Natural gas slumped 3.2 percent to $2.82 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The dollar gained strength and metals prices fell. Gold lost 0.6 percent TO $1,199.10 an ounce. Silver dropped 2.6 percent to $14.18 an ounce and Copper sank 2.6 percent to $2.60 a pound.

The dollar rose to 111.48 yen from 111.01 yen. The euro fell to $1.1581 from $1.1597.

France's CAC 40 dropped 1.3 percent and Germany's DAX shed 1.1 percent. In Britain, the FTSE 100 index lost 0.6 percent.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.1 percent while the Kospi in South Korea gained 0.4 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.9 percent.


AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jay

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