New York Report: Slow day on Wall Street as shares decline

THE DOW and the S&P 500 dipped yesterday in the thinnest volume so far this year, following their record closing highs last week as a lack of major news left the market directionless.

Although about 100 companies in the S&P 500 are still scheduled to report earnings, the season is winding down sharply after last week’s deluge. The week is also thin in terms of market-moving macroeconomic data.

About 4.6bn shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and NYSE MKT, the lowest for a full day of trading so far this year. August posted the lowest monthly average volume in US exchanges last year.

The technology sector was the S&P 500’s best performer. A rally in Apple and Facebook shares helped the Nasdaq Composite Index finish with a slim gain.

Apple rose 1.5 per cent to $469.45 after the US overturned a ban on the sale of some older iPhones and iPads. Facebook, which was the Nasdaq’s most actively traded stock, jumped three per cent to $39.19 after a brokerage upgrade.

Data suggesting economic recovery in the UK and US was improving showed British businesses boomed and activity at Eurozone companies expanded modestly in July, while growth in the US services sector rebounded from a three-year low.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 46.23 points or 0.3 per cent, to end at 15,612.13.

The S&P 500 slipped 2.53 points or 0.15 per cent, to finish at 1,707.14. But the Nasdaq Composite Index added 3.364 points or 0.09 per cent, to close at 3,692.951.

Last Friday marked the second day in a row for the Dow and the S&P 500 to end at record closing highs, the S&P 500 reaching 1,709.67.