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Tech stocks take Nasdaq, S&P close to record

Apple leads gains in tech stocks.

The S&P and the Nasdaq inched towards a record on the back of high-flying technology trio of Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.

The tech-heavy index was up 0.33% at 7 914.22, a quarter of a% away from hitting an all-time high.

The technology sector has been at the center of a sharp recovery in US stocks since a market rout in February. The S&P is also less than half a% shy of the record it hit in late January.

Shares of Apple rose 1%, while those of Amazon were up 0.8% and Microsoft 0.4%.

“There is low volatility in the markets as the S&P and Nasdaq are just below all-time record highs, and it seems like markets are complacent right now,” said Tom White, chief market strategist at TradeWise Advisors, in Chicago, Illinois.

“It’s a risk-on trade. Investors are more comfortable with FAANG stocks and technology as far as valuations go, and these stocks have higher margins.”

The gains come as the latest data pointed to the strength in the labor market, underscoring the health of the economy despite ongoing trade tensions.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, a Labor Department report showed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was the only laggard among the three major indexes. It was down 29.07 points, or 0.11%, at 25 554.68.

The S&P 500 was up 0.59 points, or 0.02%, at 2 858.29.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the materials sector leading the gains as aluminum prices rose.

The energy sector was the biggest loser, dragged down by Occidental Petroleum, the largest Permian producer, which boosted its capital expenditure.

Bookings Holdings fell 5.9% and weighed the most on the S&P and the Nasdaq after it forecast third-quarter profit below expectations.

Sinclair dropped 2.9% after Tribune Media dropped its $3.9 billion deal to be acquired by Sinclair and filed a lawsuit against the company for breach of contract. Tribune shares rose 2.9%.

Rite Aid fell 9.5% and was the most actively traded stock after the drug store chain and US grocer Albertsons Cos agreed to terminate their merger agreement.

Chip stocks fell after Morgan Stanley downgraded the US semiconductor industry, saying upside to estimates is difficult to come by. Micron, Applied Materials and ON Semiconductor fell between 1.8% and 2.4%.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.24-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.39-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 25 new 52-week highs and TWO new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 85 new highs and 51 new lows. 

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