13 Sep 2017

Wall St. set to open lower on Apple, North Korea worries

(Reuters) – Wall Street was set to open slightly lower on Wednesday, after a two-day rally, weighed down by a drop in Apple and as North Korea showed a trademark defiance over new U.N. sanctions.

Apple’s (AAPL.O) shares fell 0.83 percent in premarket trading after the highly-anticipated iPhone X was launched with a pricey $999 tag and a Nov. 3 shipping date that raised questions about supply constraints ahead of the holiday season.

The stock ended lower after a volatile session on Tuesday. But, the drag by Apple was more than offset by a rise in bank stock, helping the three major Wall Street indexes close at record highs.

Wall Street has been eking out record highs for most of this year, recovering from periodic setbacks caused by turmoil in Washington, questions over U.S. interest rate hikes and doubts about the Trump administration to push through its pro-business reforms, and lately, tensions over North Korea.

“The slight weakness we’re seeing this morning is after a two-day rally. The fundamentals and technicals, however remain strong,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

“There are concerns over the bull run, which is on several hope factors. But the list of worries is still there, geopolitical problems are far from solved and perhaps maybe tax reform not happening until 2018 – that would dampen the prospect of a stronger stock market.”

North Korea continued to keep the market on edge, after vowing to redouble efforts to fight off what it said was the threat of a U.S. invasion. The simmering tensions pushed gold prices higher.

At 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT), Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were down 14 points, or 0.06 percent, with 8,571 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were down 3.75 points, or 0.15 percent, with 143,282 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were down 12 points, or 0.2 percent, on volume of 14,035 contracts.

Centene (CNC.N) rose about 6 percent premarket after the health insurer said it would buy privately held Fidelis Care for $3.75 billion to enter New York.

Western Digital (WDC.O) fell more than 3 percent after Toshiba (6502.T) agreed to focus on selling its chips unit to a group led by Bain Capital and SK Hynix (000660.KS), but did not rule out a deal with other bidders.

Nordstrom (JWN.N) gained 6.28 percent after a source said the Nordstrom family has selected private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners to help take the high-end retailer private.

Micron Technology (MU.O) was up more than 1 percent after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to “buy” from “neutral”.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza

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