June 20, 2018 / 8:15 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Nasdaq closes at record; pressure remains on Dow

(Updates to market close)

* Media companies, Amazon, lift discretionary sector

* Starbucks, Oracle drop on disappointing forecasts

* Dow down 0.17 pct, S&P 500 up 0.17 pct, Nasdaq up 0.72 pct

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, June 20 (Reuters) - The Nasdaq closed at a record on Wednesday, lifted by a climb in large-cap tech and consumer discretionary names, while the Dow and S&P 500 were hemmed in as concerns over an escalation in the U.S.-China trade skirmish simmered.

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc climbed 7.5 percent after Walt Disney Co, up 1 percent, sweetened its offer for some of the company’s assets to $71.3 billion, looking to topple Comcast Corp’s bid, up 1.8 percent.

The S&P 500 snapped a three-session losing streak, as gains in media stocks helped send the consumer discretionary sector up 0.5 percent.

Names such as Facebook Inc up 2.3 percent, part of the so-called “FAANG” group, also rose. Alphabet advanced 0.5 percent and Amazon.com Inc rose 0.9 percent.

Shares in those companies have been relatively unaffected by trade worries, with four of the five names hitting intraday records on Wednesday. The S&P tech sector was 0.3 percent higher.

“Part of it might be people were selling stocks the past couple of days in order of where they see tariff priority,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.

“The FAANG stocks in general seem to be sort of a point of really digging in, they are not the low-hanging fruit, that would be Boeing, Caterpillar and Deere.”

Shares in Boeing Co, which has acted as a proxy for trade fears, rose 0.5 percent after six straight declines and kept the Dow near the unchanged mark. The planemaker was considering plans of a new mid-market jet that could enter service in 2025.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 42.41 points, or 0.17 percent, to 24,657.8, the S&P 500 gained 4.73 points, or 0.17 percent, to 2,767.32 and the Nasdaq Composite added 55.93 points, or 0.72 percent, to 7,781.52.

Markets skidded on Tuesday after President Donald Trump’s latest tariff threats against Chinese goods rang alarm bells over an escalating U.S.-China trade spat.

The United States is also under fire from other countries for its protectionist measures. The European Union will start charging import duties of 25 percent on a range of U.S. products from Friday after Washington imposed tariffs on EU steel and aluminum at the start of June.

Chip stocks, which derive a large part of their revenue from China, were also trading higher. The PHLX semiconductor index advanced 0.5 percent after dropping more than 2 percent over the past three sessions.

Shares in General Electric Co, the last remaining original member of the 30-stock Dow, fell 0.5 percent on news the company will be removed from the index prior to the start of trading on June 26. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, which will replace GE, jumped 5.2 percent.

Starbucks Corp tumbled 9.1 percent after the world’s largest coffee chain’s quarterly sales growth forecast missed analysts’ estimates.

Oracle Corp slumped 7.5 percent after the software maker’s current-quarter profit forecast fell short of analysts’ expectations.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.53-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.80-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 29 new 52-week highs and six new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 212 new highs and 30 new lows.

About 6.63 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with the 6.98 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions. (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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