MARKET SNAPSHOT: S&P 500, Dow Shake Off Ghost Of 1987 Crash To Finish At Records

By Sue Chang and Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Nasdaq bucks broader trend to finish lower; Apple slumps

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The S&P 500 and the Dow overcame selling pressure in a rebound near the closing bell, eking out records on Thursday as Wall Street marked the 30th anniversary of the 1987 crash.

Political tensions in Europe and lackluster economic reports out of China were blamed for keeping stocks in negative territory for most of the session even as robust earnings kept the market from retreating too far.

What are stock indexes doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average , which was down more than 100 points at one point during the day, rose 5.49 points to close at 23,163.04 while the S&P 500 index edged up 0.84 point to 2,562.10. Consumer staples and technology stocks were hardest hit but were balanced by big gains in health-care and utilities sectors.

The Nasdaq Composite bucked the broader trend to fall 19.15 points, or 0.3%, to 6,605.07.

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See:Dow 23,000 marks fresh history for blue chips (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-23000-marks-fresh-history-for-blue-chips-2017-10-17)

And check out:Dow's historic close above 23,000 belies a flicker of weakness (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dows-historic-close-above-23000-belies-a-flicker-of-weakness-2017-10-18)

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-23000-marks-fresh-history-for-blue-chips-2017-10-17)What's driving markets?

Thursday marked the anniversary of the 1987 stock-market crash (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/30-years-after-black-monday-could-stock-market-crash-again-2017-10-16), and some investors have voiced concerns about how sharp stocks have run up since the November 2016 election, ignoring U.S. political and valuation concerns, among others.

Read:Wall Street pros recall 'sheer panic' of October 1987 stock market crash (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/black-monday-was-baptism-by-fire-for-these-wall-street-pros-2017-10-16)

Meanwhile, Catalonia's president, Carles Puigdemont, failed to meet a demand to give up the region's push for independence. The Madrid government responded by suggesting it will trigger the process for imposing central control (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/spain-to-trigger-direct-rule-of-catalonia-as-standoff-continues-2017-10-19) when it holds a special cabinet meeting on Saturday. A suspension of autonomy in Catalonia could potentially spur fresh protests and instability for one of the eurozone's biggest members.

Global stock markets came under pressure following reports that growth in China slowed in the third quarter (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/china-gdp-growth-slows-in-third-quarter-2017-10-18). Stocks in Hong Kong dropped 1.9%, led by losses for property, banking and tech shares.

(https://www.wsj.com/articles/ebay-shares-fall-on-lowered-profit-outlook-1508361244)Many believe stocks will continue to rise on hopes that President Donald Trump's administration will get a tax deal done. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned in a recent interview with Politico (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mnuchin-has-an-important-warning-for-stock-market-investors-2017-10-18)that stocks could take a big hit if tax cuts aren't implemented soon.

What are strategists saying?

"While there is no question that markets are overvalued and we could see some corrections, the path of least resistance for stocks is still to go higher. I will start reducing risk when credit spreads begin to widen and when we see sustained signs of rising inflation," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank.

Which stocks are in focus?

Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) stock dropped 2.4%, putting it on track to suffer the biggest decline in a month. Also weighing on Apple was a report in The Wall Street Journal that the new Apple Watch's independent cellular connection feature was abruptly cut off in China (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-watch-cellular-feature-cut-off-in-china-2017-10-19), without explanation.

Philip Morris International Inc.(PM) shares slid 3.9% after adjusted earnings and sales fell short of expectations.

Verizon Communications Inc.'s (VZ) shares rose 1.2% after reporting third-quarter results that mostly beat analysts' estimates and affirmed its 2017 outlook.

eBay Inc.(EBAY) shares fell 1.8% after the online marketplace cut its annual profit outlook for the second straight quarter (https://www.wsj.com/articles/ebay-shares-fall-on-lowered-profit-outlook-1508361244).

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/china-gdp-growth-slows-in-third-quarter-2017-10-18)Shares of database-software company MongoDB Inc. soared 34% in their debut, after its initial public offering (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mongodb-shares-surge-35-in-their-trading-debut-after-pricing-ipo-above-price-range-2017-10-19)priced at $24 a share late Wednesday.

See also:MongoDB IPO: 5 things to know about database-software company (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mongodb-ipo-5-things-to-know-about-database-software-unicorn-2017-10-06)

Alcoa Inc.(AA) shares shed 2.5% after an earnings miss (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/alcoa-misses-on-earnings-but-beats-on-revenue-2017-10-18).

United Continental Holdings Inc.(UAL) sank 12% even as the airline reported an earnings beat (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/united-continental-earnings-beat-despite-weather-related-cancellations-2017-10-18) despite weather-related cancellations.

American Express Co.(AXP) shares fell 0.2%. The company topped Wall Street expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/american-express-shares-wobble-after-hours-following-earnings-beat-2017-10-18) on earnings and raised its guidance, and said Stephen Squeri, the current vice chairman, will become chief executive and chairman on Feb. 1 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/american-express-says-stephen-squeri-to-become-ceo-chairman-2017-10-18).

What are data saying about the economy?:

First-time jobless claims fell to 222,000 in the week ended Oct. 14, marking the lowest level for claims from those seeking employment benefits since March 1973 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/initial-jobless-claims-fall-to-levels-not-seen-since-march-1973-2017-10-19), highlighting continued strength in the labor market. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast claims to come in at 244,000.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, or the Philly Fed index, surged four points to 27.9, representing a 5-month high (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/philly-fed-manufacturing-index-lurches-to-a-5-month-high-in-october-2017-10-19). Any reading over zero signals improving conditions. Economists had forecast a reading of 20.2.

The index of leading U.S. economic indicators (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-leading-economic-indicators-fall-for-first-time-in-a-year---and-hurricanes-are-to-blame-2017-10-19)fell 0.2% in September, marking the first drop in 12 months, partly due to the effect of recent devastating storms.

How did other assets fare?

European stocks ended lower, (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-hit-by-cocktail-of-worries-over-catalonia-china-2017-10-19) with Spain's IBEX 35 index losing 0.7% as the Spain-Catalonia standoff (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/standoff-in-spain-intensifies-as-government-gears-up-to-strip-autonomy-from-catalonia-2017-10-19)continued.

In Asia , the Shanghai Composite lost 0.3%.

Oil prices fell sharply (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wti-crude-brent-prices-hover-at-highest-levels-in-weeks-2017-10-19). West Texas Intermediate crude dropped more than 1% to trade around $51.41 a barrel.

Gold futures settled higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-perks-up-as-geopolitical-tensions-in-europe-resurface-2017-10-19), while the ICE U.S. Dollar Index edged lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/euro-rises-ahead-of-spain-catalonia-showdown-2017-10-19). The euro was trading higher against the dollar at $1.1852.

--Anora M. Gaudiano and Barbara Kollmeyer contributed to this article.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 19, 2017 16:43 ET (20:43 GMT)