US stocks closed mostly lower on Wednesday, with the Nasdaq Composite Index falling the most in almost a month, dragged down by looses in Apple Inc. after a competitor introduced new smartphones and the company faced criticism for the theft of celebrity photos.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 11 points, or 0.06%, to 17,078. The S&P 500 ended down two points, or 0.08%, at 2,001. The Nasdaq Composite lost 26 points, or 0.56%, to end at 4,573.
Apple shares (AAPL.O) plunged 4.2% in their worst percentage decline since 28 January. At least one brokerage mulled downgrading the stock as Apple grappled with a possible security breach of its iCloud service a week before the launch of its new iPhone.
Rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd., meanwhile, launched a virtual reality headset for its new Galaxy Note 4 phablet using technology from Oculus VR, a company that Facebook Inc acquired for $2 billion.
In economic news, the European Central Bank will hold a monthly policy meeting today, where investors will look for clues that the ECB may launch a bond-buying programme.
Stocks had gained earlier after officials from Ukraine and Russia said they were close to an agreement to stop fighting in eastern Ukraine.
New orders for manufactured goods increased a record 10.5% in July, and August auto sales were unexpectedly strong, due in part to heavy discounting.
Airline shares fell after Delta Airlines (DAL.N), down 5.2%, trimmed its operating margin forecast and said its international passenger traffic fell slightly in August. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O) fell 3.4%.
Housing stocks were also weak, weighed down by a 4.7% decline in Toll Brothers (TOL.N) to $33.95 after the largest US luxury homebuilder posted quarterly results.
In Asia, stocks oscillated between gains and losses on Thursday after Samsung Electronics Co. rallied while financial shares slid.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed at 149 as of 10:01 a.m. in Hong Kong. South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.4% today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.1%.Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.3% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid 0.2%. China’s Shanghai Composite Index added 0.2%. Japan’s Topix index slipped 0.1%.