Oil stocks lift S&P 500; Apple pushes Nasdaq lower

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose on Monday, as oil prices lifted energy stocks and defensive sectors such as real estate and utilities gained, but a drop in Apple’s shares dragged down the Nasdaq.

The iPhone maker’s shares (AAPL.O) fell 3.7 percent to a 3-month low after a Nikkei report that the company had told its smartphone assemblers to halt plans for additional production lines dedicated to the iPhone XR.

The stock is on track to post its worst two-day loss since January 2013, after the company’s disappointing holiday-quarter forecast sent its shares down about 7 percent on Friday.

The energy sector .SPNY, which has lagged the broader S&P 500 .SPX this year, was up 1.35 percent as the United States imposed a range of punitive sanctions on Iran, lifting oil prices by about 1 percent. [O/R]

Chevron (CVX.N) rose 3.9 percent, while EQT Corp (EQT.N) and Cabot Oil (COG.N) were the top gainers on the S&P 500, rising 7.2 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.

Gains in defensive sectors, including real estate .SPLRCR, utilities .SPLRCU and consumer staples .SPLRCS, helped the S&P 500 and the Dow rebound at the start of a packed week which includes the U.S. midterm elections and a Federal Reserve meeting.

Opinion polls show a strong chance for President Donald Trump’s Republican Party holding the Senate but losing control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats – a potential hurdle to Trump’s pro-business agenda, which has been a major driver of the stock market’s rally since the 2016 election.

“The market would’ve been up a lot more if it wasn’t for technology. It seems like people are trying to hedge in case there is a relief rally after the election,” said Aaron Jett, vice president for global equity research at Bel Air Investment Advisors in Los Angeles.

“If the Democrats win, Trump could be more likely to want to get some kind of win, so he might be willing to do more deal with China.”

Amid a trade dispute between the United States and China that has roiled financial markets this year, all eyes will be on a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Argentina at the end of the month.

At 13:21 EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 107.82 points, or 0.43 percent, at 25,378.65, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 5.32 points, or 0.20 percent, at 2,728.38 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 68.52 points, or 0.93 percent, at 7,288.47.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N) (BRKb.N) jumped 4.2 percent after the conglomerate run by billionaire Warren Buffett said its quarterly operating profit doubled.

The gains lifted the S&P financial index .SPSY by 1.17 percent ahead of the Federal Reserve’s two-day monetary policy meeting starting on Wednesday.

Investors are worried about tightening U.S. monetary policy, especially after a string of strong economic data, including Friday’s jobs report.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.37-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.24-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 10 new 52-week highs and one new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 30 new highs and 47 new lows.

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