Wall Street closes mixed

United States stocks close mostly higher as Dow, S&P extend winning streaks; Apple drags on tech shares.

United States stocks closed mixed, but mostly higher as the Dow and S&P extending winning streaks while tough losses in Apple weighed on technology-stock benchmarks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 135.54 points, or 0.9%, to 15,326.60 points, marking a third-straight triple-digit gain. The average has risen in six of September's seven trading sessions.

The S&P 500 index rose 5.14 points, or 0.3%, to 1,689.13 points, with eight of 10 sectors higher.

The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 4.01 points, or 0.1%, to 3,725.01 points.

The S&P 500 rose for the seventh straight session Wednesday, its longest winning streak since July. The index is up 18% this year.

"The market is amazingly resilient," Wells Fargo Private Bank deputy chief investment officer Erik Davidson said.

"There are a lot of things that can go wrong, but it just keeps marching higher."

The S&P 500 declined 4.4% in August as tensions rose surrounding the potential for military action in Syria. But shares have reclaimed much of those losses in this month, rising 3.4% as investors say they see tensions subsiding.

"Every time you have some sort of negative news for the equity market, the sellers come in, and a few days later, the sellers look silly and get punished," Credit Suisse Group AG US head of program trading at Viren Chandrasoma said.

Apple slumped 5.4% a day after it unveiled two new iPhone offerings. The stock had rallied 11% in the month leading up to the announcement. The stock's losses weighed on the S&P 500's technology sector, which dropped 0.5%.

Next week's Federal Reserve policy-setting meeting is now on investors' radar, as markets have seen swings in recent months on discussions of a rolling back of Fed stimulus efforts.

Steven Wieting, global chief investment strategist with Citi Private Bank, said he expects the Fed to cut its monthly purchases of Treasury bonds by between $10 billion and $15 billion. He said that "move has been largely priced in" to the stock market.

Still, "I wouldn't want to say that all volatility and concern about the Fed is completely out of the way at this point," Mr Wieting said. He expects investors to keep questioning the Fed's next moves even after its initial cut to bond purchases.

Talk of a pullback from the Fed has pushed Treasury yields up in recent months. On Wednesday, the yield on the 10-year note declined to settle at 2.920%.

That is more than a percentage point higher than where it started the year. But this week's rally reflects that the long-term rise in Treasury yields "is no longer shocking to people," said Mr Chandrasoma.

Consumer stocks were among the gainers in the S&P 500, with consumer-discretionary shares rising 0.8% and consumer-staples shares adding 0.7%. MasterCard said Wednesday that card purchases and other transactions accelerated in July and August, a positive sign for consumer spending.

Traders were puzzled by a broad selloff in utilities shares. The sector was the worst performer in the S&P 500, down 1.1% in late trading. The group often trades as a proxy for the bond market, but Treasurys rose in Wednesday trading after a strong auction, pushing the yield on the 10-year note lower. Executives from companies in the sector were speaking at a conference in New York, but traders said they hadn't seen any statements that would have sparked the selloff.

European markets closed higher. The Stoxx Europe 600 was up 0.4%, with improving jobs data out of the U.K. lending support. The unemployment rate for the three months to July fell to 7.7% in Britain, below expectations of 7.8%.

Asian markets were mostly higher. China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.2% to a three-month high, and Japan's Nikkei Stock Average inched up less than 0.1%.

Crude-oil futures gained 0.2% to settle at $107.56 a barrel. Gold futures edged down less than 0.1% to settle at $1,363.90 a troy ounce. The dollar lost ground against the euro and the yen.

Earlier, the Mortgage Bankers Association said the number of mortgage applications filed in the latest week fell 14% from the previous week, amid rising mortgage rates. Wholesale inventories for July rose 0.1% on the month, below expectations for a 0.3% increase.

Dow component Verizon Communications rose 0.1% as the company sold a record-setting $49 billion of bonds Wednesday to help fund the planned buyout of its US wireless partner. The bond sale eclipsed Apple's record corporate-bond offering of $17 billion.

Texas Instruments slipped 0.7% after the semiconductor maker narrowed the range of its forecast for third-quarter earnings and revenue, in line with expectations. The stock closed Tuesday at a 12-year high.

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