S&P, Nasdaq edge higher after recent losses but Apple drags

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks mostly edged higher on Monday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rebounding to snap a four-day losing streak, although a drop in Apple kept gains in check.

The Dow fell, with Travelers TRV.N down 1.9 percent. Hurricane Florence is expected to be an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday, the National Hurricane Center warned of the Category 4 storm bearing down on the U.S. east coast.

UnitedHealth shares UNH.N also weighed on the Dow. The stock fell 3.2 percent after a Citigroup downgrade.

Apple AAPL.O shares dropped 1.3 percent, weighing on the three major indexes. But the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rebounded from losses last week.

“People are trying to test the waters after the selling last week,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist, senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he was ready to levy additional taxes on practically all Chinese imports, threatening duties on $267 billion of goods over and above planned tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese products.

China said it will respond if Washington takes any new steps on trade. Also, Apple last week said a “wide range” of its products would be hit, although it did not mention the iPhone.

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At the same time, investors are optimistic about U.S. economic data and forecasts for earnings.

“Fundamentals appear to be in place to support share prices,” said John Carey, portfolio manager at Amundi Pioneer Asset Management in Boston. “Economic numbers continue to be positive, and the outlook for earnings is positive.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 59.47 points, or 0.23 percent, to 25,857.07, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 5.45 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,877.13 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 21.62 points, or 0.27 percent, to 7,924.16.

Investors await the release of consumer price index data this week.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives plan to unveil tax cuts this week, intended to augment Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul that added $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit through permanent tax cuts for U.S. companies.

Shares of United Rentals URI.N rose 5.0 percent after the company said it was buying privately held equipment rental firm BlueLine Rental.

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Among other gainers, Nike NKE.N rose 2.2 percent after a report said the footwear maker's Labor Day sales rose, easing concerns about the hit to demand after the Colin Kaepernick advertisement.

Tesla TSLA.O gained 8.5 percent after brokerages Baird and Bernstein said the electric carmaker was on track to be profitable and cash-flow positive in the second half of the year.

Alibaba BABA.N dropped 3.7 percent after the company said Jack Ma will step down as chairman in one year, passing on the reins to trusted lieutenant Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.61-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.11-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 45 new 52-week highs and five new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 111 new highs and 68 new lows.

About 5.6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges. That compares with the 6.1 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish