FILE- In this Oct. 24, 2018, file photo specialist Gregg Maloney, left, and trader Timothy Nick work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Friday, Nov. 2. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Stocks end a strong week with losses as Apple shares skid

November 02, 2018 - 4:38 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks slipped Friday as Apple absorbed its worst loss in more than four years. Thanks to gains over the previous three days, the S&P 500 index finished with its biggest weekly increase since March.

Apple, the world's largest technology company, forecast weak revenue in the current quarter and startled investors by saying it will stop disclosing quarterly iPhone sales. That pulled technology stocks lower. Other high-growth stocks held up well after the U.S. and China said they had made some progress in trade talks, and Asian indexes surged on reports that China's government plans to cut taxes.

The Department of Labor said employers added 250,000 jobs in October, with no sign that hiring was going to slow down. The proportion of Americans with jobs is at its highest level since January 2009, and hourly wages also grew by the most since then. Along with high consumer confidence, those are all good signs for economic growth and consumer spending in the months to come.

Bond yields surged following the strong jobs report as investors bet on continued economic growth, which would push the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates more quickly.

"It clearly was a good report," said David Lefkowitz, senior equity strategist Americas at UBS Global Wealth Management.

Growth in wages, while stronger than anything that's been reported recently, was about what investors were expecting, Lefkowitz said. That's important because investors are still sensitive to signs that inflation could flare up, forcing the Federal Reserve to be more aggressive in raising rates. If inflation grows moderately, as it appeared to in October, that's not as likely.

The S&P 500 index slid 17.31 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,723.06. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 109.91 points, or 0.4 percent, to 25,270.83.

The Nasdaq composite, which has a high concentration of technology companies, lost 77.06 points, or 1 percent, to 7,356.99. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,547.98.

Stocks had surged over the previous three days and finished the week 2.4 percent higher. They skidded in October, suffering their worst monthly loss in seven years. The S&P 500 will have to rise another 7.6 percent to match the all-time high it reached on Sept. 20.

Bond prices dropped, sending yields sharply higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped to 3.22 percent, from 3.14 percent. A jump in interest rates last month started the market's downturn, but investors on Friday didn't seem as worried. Interest rates will also be in focus when the Federal Reserve meets next week. It's not expected to raise rates in November.

Apple's sales in its latest quarter and its estimates for the holiday season disappointed investors. Other big smartphone makes don't disclose how many phones they sell each quarter or what the sale price is. The change raised suspicions that Apple might be trying to mask a downturn in the phone's popularity. The company says the quarterly numbers don't necessarily tell investors how strong its business has been.

Apple gets most of its revenue from iPhone sales and lately it's boosted its profits by selling higher-priced models.

Apple sagged 6.6 percent to $207.48. Chipmakers also fell. Qorvo lost 5.7 percent to $74 and Broadcom fell 4 percent to $220.77.

The governments of the U.S. and China both said they were making some progress in trade talks. It's been months since the two sides made any visible progress and fears that the dispute was getting worse contributed to the big losses for global markets in October. Chinese state media also said President Xi Jingping promised tax cuts and other help to China's entrepreneurs.

"In September, before earnings season started ... the market was kind of complacent about tariff issues," said Lefkowitz. "It's something I think the market was ignoring and is now more attuned to."

Germany's DAX rose 0.4 percent and the CAC 40 in France added 0.3 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.3 percent.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong soared 4.2 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 index surged 2.6 percent while South Korea's Kospi climbed 3.5 percent.

Starbucks' sales were better than expected, and customers spent more after it raised prices for brewed coffee. It said revenue from cold drinks improved as well, and revenue also improved in China. The stock jumped 9.7 percent to $64.42, its biggest gain since 2011.

Kraft Heinz sank 9.7 percent to $50.73 after its profit in the third quarter fell way short of analyst forecasts. The maker of Oscar Mayer meats, Jell-O pudding and Velveeta cheese said costs grew and it's continuing to make major investments in its business. Prices in the U.S. fell as stores ramped up discounts, especially for cheeses and drinks. That led to its worst loss in three years.

The dollar rose to 113.28 yen from 112.69 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1398 from $1.1409.

Oil prices continued to slip. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 0.9 percent to $63.14 a barrel in New York and Brent crude shed 0.1 percent to $72.83 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline lost 0.5 percent to $1.71 a gallon and heating oil fell 1.3 percent to $2.17 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1.5 percent to $3.28 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell 0.4 percent to $1,233.30 an ounce. Silver dipped 0.1 percent to $14.75 an ounce. Copper climbed 3.1 percent to $2.81 a pound.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP

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