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US STOCKS-S&P ends at record high led by banks while Apple drags
September 12, 2017 / 8:30 PM / 2 months ago

US STOCKS-S&P ends at record high led by banks while Apple drags

* S&P 500 closes at session high

* Storm damage concerns ease as Irma weakens

* Financials gain as bond yields rise

* Apple slips in volatile trade during iPhone launch event

* Indexes up: Dow 0.28 pct, S&P 0.34 pct, Nasdaq 0.34 pct (Updates to close, adds commentary)

By Sinead Carew

Sept 12 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 hit a record closing high for the second day in a row on Tuesday, with financial stocks leading the charge, but gains were stunted by a decline in Apple Inc shares after it unveiled its latest iPhone.

Nasdaq also clocked a record closing high despite weakness from Apple. Investors were more comfortable with riskier assets as concerns about U.S. tensions with North Korea eased and the financial impact from Hurricane Irma appeared less severe than feared last week.

The financial sector was the S&P 500’s biggest driver as bank stocks were helped by rising U.S. Treasury yields, while the utilities and real estate sectors lost ground.

“It’s a better environment for risk assets. As long as these two issues North Korea and the hurricane - have receded as concerns, it gives investors a green light to focus on stronger fundamentals,” said David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial in Boston.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 61.49 points, or 0.28 percent, to 22,118.86, the S&P 500 gained 8.37 points, or 0.34 percent, to 2,496.48 and the Nasdaq Composite added 22.02 points, or 0.34 percent, to 6,454.28.

Concerns about Hurricane Irma’s impact receded as it weakened to a tropical depression, while investors shrugged off fresh developments related to North Korea.

“A lot of it is the realization that the latest hurricane wasn’t as devastating in the U.S. as people feared,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management in New York.

Apple’s shares closed a volatile trading session 0.4 percent lower at $160.82 after rising as high as $163.96, after it unveiled its 10th anniversary edition of the iPhone. Apple’s release date of Nov. 3 was later than some investors had expected.

While some investors cited worries about whether Apple would face supply shortages, others said traders were just taking profits.

“There were no blockbuster surprises although what they’re doing with the products is all pretty good,” said Ghriskey.

The iPhone maker was the second-biggest drag on the S&P behind McDonald‘s, which fell more than 3 percent on concerns about its third-quarter results.

Most of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the telecom services index clocking the biggest gain with a 1.4 percent rise.

Financials, the biggest driver on the day, rose 1.2 percent, helped by a 1.8-percent jump in the S&P Bank subsector. Investors in banks, whose profits are boosted by higher rates, were reacting to a jump U.S. Treasury 10-year yields to a three-week high after a 10-year note auction.

Also, Goldman Sachs unveiled a growth plan that could add as much as $5 billion in revenue annually.

The S&P Utilities and Real Estate sectors were the laggards of the day, with 1.8 percent and 1.2 percent declines, as investors shied away from interest rate- sensitive stocks.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.71-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.70-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

About 5.89 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, above the 5.79 billion 20-day average. (Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler and Nick Zieminski)

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