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US STOCKS-Nasdaq rises as Apple nears $2 trillion in…

By Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh

Aug 13 – The Nasdaq Composite rose on Thursday as Apple inched toward $2 trillion in market capitalization, while the S&P 500 and Dow indexes were flat with data signaling a faltering labor market recovery.

While the S&P 500 remained within striking distance of a record high, the blue-chip Dow was weighed down by a 10.9% slump in Cisco Systems Inc after the company forecast first-quarter revenue and profit below estimates.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped below one million last week for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, but that was likely due to the expiration of a $600 weekly jobless supplement that discouraged some from filing claims.

Wall Street has recovered most of the trillions lost during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the tech-heavy Nasdaq was the first of the three major indexes to hit a record high in June. The Dow is about 5.6% below its February peak.

“We’ve had a really strong run over the last couple of weeks, so I think it will be very healthy to see a pause, some consolidation here,” said Dan Eye, head of asset allocation and equity at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, markets continued to hold on to hopes the Democrats and the White House would reach an agreement for a stimulus to help the economy reach pre-pandemic levels. Unemployment benefits have been a sticking point in their talks.

“There’s definitely a stalemate there and it just seems like the market has decided to take an optimistic view around the stimulus talks that’s right in line with how markets are looking at every outcome – the economic recovery, earnings recovery, vaccines,” Fort Pitt Capital Group’s Dan Eye added.

The U.S. Presidential election is also expected to add another layer of uncertainty into markets, with roughly 12 weeks remaining until Election Day.

At 10:08 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 10.02 points, or 0.04%, at 27,966.82, and the S&P 500 was up 2.10 points, or 0.06%, at 3,382.45. The Nasdaq Composite was up 61.59 points, or 0.56%, at 11,073.82.

Apple Inc rose 1.6% as a report said the iPhone maker was readying a series of subscription bundles for its digital services. At its current share price of about $457, the company is about $10 a share shy of hitting $2 trillion in market capitalization.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc jumped 6.5% after the firm said it will start its first phase of reopening theaters in the United States from Aug. 20, covering more than 100 venues.

Tapestry Inc fell 1.7% even as it beat quarterly sales estimates.

Advancing issues nearly matched decliners on the NYSE and the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 5 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 29 new highs and 12 new lows. (Reporting by Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Uttaresh.V)

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