US STOCKS-Apple soars to record high, lifts Wall St

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(Reuters) – The three major Wall Street indexes came off their session lows in early afternoon trading on Friday as Apple hit a record high on strong demand for its latest iPhone X and an upbeat holiday sales forecast.

The Wall Street sign is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange, March 26, 2009. REUTERS/Chip East/Files

Lines formed outside Apple (AAPL.O) stores around the world as fans flocked to buy the iPhone X, helping allay concerns that supply issues might stop the company from satisfying early demand.

The shares jumped as much as 3.7 percent and helped Apple briefly surpass $900 billion in market capitalization.

The market traded in a narrow range after October jobs data triggered worries about weak wage growth. Average hourly earnings slipped by one cent last month, lowering the year-on-year increase to 2.4 percent.

U.S. jobs increased by 261,000 last month after a hurricane-ravaged September, but was below economists’ expectations for a 310,000 rise.

“If there’s one thing I would focus on, it is the fact you’re really not seeing the wage inflation,” said Heidi Learner, chief economist in New York for Savills Studley, a unit of Savills Plc.

“The wage numbers are becoming increasing more important than the monthly payrolls number itself.”

Tepid wage growth supports the view that inflation will continue to undershoot the Federal Reserve’s 2-percent target and could raise concerns about consumer spending.

At 12:30 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 29.06 points, or 0.12 percent, at 23,545.32, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 5.01 points, or 0.19 percent, at 2,584.86. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 29.85 points, or 0.44 percent, at 6,744.79.

The three indexes were on track to record gains for the week, which was packed with major events including the nomination of a new Fed chief and the unveiling of the long-awaited tax-cut plans by Republicans.

The market has been supported by largely positive third-quarter earnings. Of the 406 S&P 500 companies that have reported, 72.4 percent have topped profit estimates, slightly above the 72 percent beat-rate in the past four quarters.

Starbucks was up 3.33 percent following results.

AIG (AIG.N) fell 4.72 percent after the insurer posted a bigger loss on huge catastrophe losses.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,516 to 1,284. On the Nasdaq, 1,435 issues fell and 1,383 advanced.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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