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

A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York. —  Reuters picA Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York. — Reuters picNEW YORK, Sept 13 — Wall Street was set to open slightly lower today, after a two-day rally, weighed down by a drop in Apple and as North Korea showed a trademark defiance over new UN sanctions.

Apple’s shares fell 0.83 per cent in premarket trading after the highly-anticipated iPhone X was launched with a pricey US$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 yesterday. 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 US 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 US invasion. The simmering tensions pushed gold prices higher.

At 8:30 am ET (1230 GMT), Dow e-minis were down 14 points, or 0.06 per cent, with 8,571 contracts changing hands.

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

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

Centene rose about 6 per cent premarket after the health insurer said it would buy privately held Fidelis Care for US$3.75 billion to enter New York.

Western Digital fell more than 3 per cent after Toshiba agreed to focus on selling its chips unit to a group led by Bain Capital and SK Hynix, but did not rule out a deal with other bidders.

Nordstrom gained 6.28 per cent 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 was up more than 1 per cent after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to “buy” from “neutral”. — Reuters

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