US open: Stocks mixed ahead of Apple iPhone launch
Trading on Wall Street got off to a mixed start on Wednesday as investors eyed tech giant Apple's annual product release event in the evening and following the release of a weaker-than-expected reading on the producer price index for August.
At 1601 BST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was edging higher by 0.04% or 13.84 points to 25,988.22, but alongside a 0.15% or 4.52 point dip on the S&P 500 to 2,883.28, while the Nasdaq Composite was down by 0.83% or 66.35 points to 7,908.27.
Trade relations between the US and China were likely to remain in focus after it emerged on Tuesday that Beijing will ask the World Trade Organisation for permission to impose sanctions on the US next week over an anti-dumping dispute that dates back to 2013.
Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said: "With China involving the WTO in the dispute and the US preparing more tariffs - and threatening an eventual tariff on all imports - it doesn’t appear this threat is going away any time soon and is something we should just get used to. This could work to the advantage of the EU with Trump engaging in negotiations in an attempt to forge closer trade ties, remove barriers and eliminate the apparent need for new tariffs."
As far as Apple is concerned, CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson noted widespread speculation of an upgrade to the £1k iPhone X, with the release of the iPhone XS.
"Not only that, we’ll probably get upgrades to the iPhone 8, as well as a new Apple Watch, along with some upgrades to the various tablet versions, though the iPad mini may well be on borrowed time given we haven’t seen an upgrade to that since 2015.
"These upgrades are likely to come with higher price points and this appears to have prompted some brave investors to start short selling the Apple share price, on the basis that it may be time for a correction in heightened expectations.
"This appears to be a risky bet given how metronomic Apple’s share price advance has been - nonetheless when looking at a long-term weekly price chart, the air does look a little thin at current levels. That’s not to say that we can’t see a move higher in the much longer term, but for now it might be prudent for the shares to take a bit of a breather given the advances over the last few months."
Apple shares were down by 0.7% at $222.32.
Elsewhere, Bausch Health surged 11.84% after saying it has reached an agreement in a patent dispute over 550 mg tables of Xifaxan, a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome.
Managed-care provider WellCare Health Plans was likely to be in focus following news that it will replace XL Group in the S&P 500.
Meanwhile, shares of T-Mobile US and Sprint were active after the Federal Communications Commission paused its 180-day clock for reviewing the merger of the two companies.