Market Snapshot: Stocks turn lower as tech falls; Apple shares tumble ahead of iPhone event

Market Snapshot: Stocks turn lower as tech falls; Apple shares tumble ahead of iPhone event

U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday, with technology stocks leading the move lower and pressuring the Nasdaq into an outsize decline.

Apple Inc. was one of the biggest drags on the broader markets ahead of a corporate event where it will release details on its latest iPhones.

What are the main benchmarks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.01% rose 8 points, or less than 0.1%, to 25,983. The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.21% was down 6 points to 2,882, a decline of less 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.84% sank 76 points, or 1%, to 7,898.

Both the S&P and the Nasdaq have risen for two straight sessions, through Tuesday, though that comes after a four-day decline. Recent trading has been muted, however. The S&P hasn’t closed with a move of 0.5% in either direction in any session thus far this month.

So far this year, the three gauges have scored year-to-date advances that range from 5.2% to 14%.

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What’s driving markets?

Trade tensions between the U.S. and its partners have put pressure on global markets in recent months, but American equities have continued to get a boost from encouraging economic reports and companies’ upbeat quarterly reports.

Investors this week have been tracking the fight between the U.S. and China in particular, as analysts warn that a full-blown trade war would hurt economic growth.

Opinion: Apple and other companies sound the alarm on Trump’s China tariff plans

Energy stocks could see a boost as crude-oil prices rose. Prices gained as Hurricane Florence barreled toward the East Coast, boosting demand and raising worries about disruptions to gasoline flows and pipelines in the region.

In the latest economic data, the wholesale cost of U.S. goods and services fell in August for the first time in a year and a half as the recent upturn in inflation appeared to ease.

What are strategists saying?

“There’s not any great big news to trade on, so it’s likely we’ll primarily be moving on headlines, which means we can be up one hour and then moving down the next,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.

Referring to some recent weakness, Kinahan said, “you have to separate a natural selloff from one driven by a real change in the market. It makes sense that we could see some selling after a remarkable year and a half, especially in areas like tech that have done well. But I don’t see a tone change in the market; the numbers continue to point to a strong economy.”

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares in Apple Inc. AAPL, -1.30%  fell 1.5% ahead of the company’s event Wednesday that is expected to deliver details about its latest iPhones—especially how much they’ll cost. Thus far this year, the stock is up more than 30%.

Don’t miss: Here’s how Apple’s stock performs around iPhone launch events

WellCare Health Plans Inc.’s stock WCG, -2.07%  fell 2.4%. The managed-care provider will join the S&P 500, replacing XL Group Ltd. XL, +0.00% which is being acquired French insurance giant AXA SA CS, +0.11% AXA, +0.34%

The Federal Communications Commission paused its 180-day clock for reviewing the merger of T-Mobile US. Inc. TMUS, +1.43%  and Sprint Corp. S, +2.14% Shares of T-Mobile rose 1.4% while Sprint was up 1.3%.

Micron Technology Inc. MU, -6.42%  fell 5.8% after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to neutral.

Vital Therapies Inc. VTL, -89.68%  plummeted nearly 90% after it said it is halting the development of a system aimed at treating liver failure after a disappointing trial.

Nielsen Holdings PLC NLSN, +2.19%  jumped 4% after the TV-ratings company said it expanded its previously announced strategic review to assess a potential sale of the company.

Snap Inc. SNAP, -8.95%  fell 9.5% after Jefferies analyst Brent Thill lowered his price target to $11 from $14, writing that user trends weren’t encouraging. Separately, BTIG downgraded the stock to sell.

Wabco Holdings Inc. WBC, -6.76%  said it expects its 2018 earnings to be in the lower half of a previously given outlook range, citing trade tensions. The stock fell 5.1%.

Bausch Health Cos. Inc. BHC, +12.68%  gained 15% after it reached an agreement in a patent dispute over a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome.

Macy’s Inc. M, +0.26%  plans to hire about 80,000 seasonal workers for the holiday season, matching the overall hiring plans announced last year. Shares rose 0.3%.

Foamix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. FOMX, +11.32%  shares jumped 7.7%. The company reported positive late-stage trial results for its topical acne medication

What Fed officials are scheduled to speak?

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said that Federal Reserve interest rate-setters aren’t paying enough attention to what the bond and stock markets tell them.

Fed Gov. Lael Brainard is expected to make remarks in Detroit at 12:45 p.m. Eastern. The central bank is slated to release its Beige Book at 2 p.m. Eastern.

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