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Nasdaq Composite Declines as Apple Slide Drags on Tech

By Elena Popina
September 03, 2014 4:24 PM EDT 344 Comments

The Nasdaq Composite Index (CCMP) fell the most in almost a month, dragged down by losses in Apple Inc. (AAPL) after a competitor introduced new smartphones and the company faced criticism for the theft of celebrity photos.

Apple, the world’s most valuable company, sank 4.2 percent for its biggest decline since January. Delta Air Lines Inc. lost 5.2 percent after it lowered forecasts for some third-quarter targets. PulteGroup Inc. fell 3.8 percent as homebuilders tumbled.

The Nasdaq Composite lost 0.6 percent at 4 p.m. in New York, the most since Aug. 5. Apple has the biggest weighting in the gauge at 8.7 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.1 percent to 2,000.72, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 10.72 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,078.28. About 5.4 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges today, 3.1 percent below the three-month average.

“Apple stock’s had a pretty strong move in the last several months,” Michael James, a Los Angeles-based managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities Inc., said in an interview. “A lot of positives from the iPhone launch are built into the stock price at these levels. People are merely taking profits.”

Apple had rallied in 15 of the previous 17 sessions, adding 9.3 percent since Aug. 7 to reach a record close of $103.30 yesterday.

Galaxy, Celebrities

Samsung Electronics Co. unveiled a pair of Galaxy Note smartphones today, as the No. 1 seller tries to fend off Apple’s push into large-screen devices. The U.S. company yesterday said that a spate of nude photos from actresses including Jennifer Lawrence that were recently posted online were individually stolen from Apple accounts.

The theft, which prompted scrutiny from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, threatened to mar an Apple event on Sept. 9, where the company is set to unveil new iPhones, a wearable device and a mobile-payments system, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

Pacific Crest Securities LLC said it would likely cut Apple’s outperform rating unless the event shows “massive incremental profit opportunities.”

Apple led an S&P 500 index of technology stocks lower by 0.7 percent, the most among 10 main groups in the broader gauge. The Nasdaq 100 Index of large technology companies dropped 0.6 percent, the most since Aug. 5.

The S&P 500 earlier climbed to an intraday record on reports that Russia President Vladimir Putin outlined a peace plan for Ukraine after agreeing with his counterpart Petro Poroshenko on steps toward a cease-fire in the conflict that has raged for more than five months.

Beige Book

The U.S. equities benchmark slipped from a record yesterday, after gaining 3.8 percent in August (SPX) to breach the 2,000 level for the first time on bets that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low even as the economy shows signs of picking up.

The Fed’s Beige Book, a survey based on reports from the 12 regional banks, showed the U.S. economy continued to expand during the summer, with none of the country’s regions experiencing a shift in the pace of growth. Policy makers next meet Sept. 16-17.

Data today showed factory goods orders rose 10.5 percent in July, the largest gain since records began in 1992. The increase was less than the 11 percent forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), the gauge of S&P options prices known as the VIX, added 0.9 percent to 12.36. The gauge lost 29 percent in August, the biggest monthly drop in almost three years.

Airlines, Builders

Energy shares in the S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent to rebound from losses yesterday as the price of oil advanced 2.9 percent in New York. Utilities added 0.6 percent as a group.

Delta plunged 5.2 percent to $38.82, the steepest slide in more than two months. In a presentation to analysts at a Cowen & Co. conference, Delta said revenue for each seat flown a mile will increase 2 percent to 3 percent in the third quarter, down from a previous forecast of 2 percent to 4 percent.

The Bloomberg U.S. Airlines Index fell 2.9 percent, the most since July, as all 11 members retreated.

An S&P index of homebuilders slid 3 percent as all 11 members declined. Toll Brothers Inc., the largest U.S. luxury-home builder, fell 4.7 percent after it said orders for new homes dropped and it lowered its forecast for sales this year.

Home Depot

PulteGroup Inc. slid 3.8 percent, while Lennar Corp. (LEN) and D.R. Horton Inc. dropped at least 2.2 percent.

Home Depot Inc. fell 2.4 percent to $89 for a second day of losses and the biggest decline in the Dow. The largest U.S. home-improvement retailer is investigating a suspected hacker attack.

It said yesterday that it was working with banks and law enforcement on the possible incursion, following a report by KrebsOnSecurity that a “massive” batch of stolen credit- and debit-card information was posted for sale online.

Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc. (INFI) soared 44 percent to $15.73. The company will get $275 million as initial payment under the deal with AbbVie for developing duvelisib and can receive another $530 million depending on the drug’s progress.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elena Popina in New York at epopina@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net Jeremy Herron

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