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US STOCKS-Wall St staggers sideways as Apple helps, autos drag
May 2, 2017 / 7:06 PM / in 3 months

US STOCKS-Wall St staggers sideways as Apple helps, autos drag

3 Min Read

* Automakers' April U.S. sales drop; GM, Ford fall

* Advanced Micro tumbles after results; Coach soars

* Fed kicks off two-day meeting; statement due Wednesday

* Dow up 0.04 pct, S&P down 0.05 pct, Nasdaq down 0.09 pct (Updates to late afternoon)

By Lewis Krauskopf

May 2 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Tuesday as an Apple-led rise in the tech sector countered weakness in auto stocks and investors digested a heavy day of earnings reports.

Ford shares dropped 4.2 percent and General Motors fell 2.9 percent, as major automakers posted declines in U.S. new vehicle sales for April.

Apple shares rose 0.5 percent ahead of the iPhone maker's quarterly results due later on Tuesday.

Investors also were awaiting other significant events later in the week, including Wednesday's expected statement from the Federal Reserve, which began meeting on Tuesday, and Friday's U.S. employment report.

The Fed is widely expected to stand pat on interest rates, but may offer hints on the possibility of a rate hike in June.

The S&P 500 is approaching record highs during an earnings season that has generally exceeded expectations.

Overall, profits at S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 13.9 percent in the first quarter, the most since 2011, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"The technicals in general look good for the S&P," Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama. "The fundamentals are improving, particularly as the earnings season unfolds here."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 9.39 points, or 0.04 percent, to 20,922.85 and the S&P 500 lost 1.08 points, or 0.05 percent, to 2,387.25.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 5.67 points, or 0.09 percent, to 6,085.93, after eking out an intraday record high earlier in the session.

The technology sector rose 0.2 percent, on track for its fourth straight day of gains.

Energy shares fell 0.8 percent as oil prices weakened.

In earnings news, Advanced Micro Devices tumbled 22.5 percent after the chipmaker's second-quarter gross margins forecast raised some concerns. The stock was the biggest percentage decliner in the S&P 500.

Archer Daniels Midland sank 8.6 percent and CVS Health fell 3 percent after their respective reports.

Coach shares rose 11.5 percent, making them the biggest gainers on the S&P, as the handbag maker cut back on discounting in the United States and sold more expensive bags.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.23-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.45-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 46 new 52-week highs and 9 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 139 new highs and 43 new lows. (Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Nick Zieminski)

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