US stocks dip early in last session of 2017

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York. ― Reuters picTraders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York. ― Reuters picNEW YORK, Dec 29 — Wall Street stocks declined modestly early today in what was shaping up to be a muted finale to a heady year for US equities.

About 35 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down less than 0.1 per cent at 24,830.57.

The broad-based S&P 500 also shed 0.1 per cent to 2,687.20, as did the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index which slipped 0.1 per cent to 6,941.11.

Trading volumes have been low all week, the norm in the holiday stretch between Christmas and New Year’s when many Wall Street traders are on vacation.

But the sleepy week doesn’t dim the steady climb during the year. The S&P 500 has risen about 20 per cent this year, a buoyant stretch for US stocks amid improving economic data and anticipation of the massive tax reform package which President Donald Trump signed into law last week.

Analysts vary on their outlook for 2018, with some predicting further gains for stocks and others expecting greater volatility.

Goldman Sachs dropped 0.7 per cent after disclosing that it expects a $5 billion earnings hit in the fourth quarter due to taxes on the repatriation of overseas profits under the new tax reform.

Apple fell 0.7 per cent after apologizing to customers for a problem with its older iPhones that slowed performance and announcing it will offer discount replacement batteries for some models. — AFP