US stocks tread cautiously ahead of Apple earnings

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Tech stocks are keeping US equity indices barely in the black in midday trading on Tuesday, balancing out the drag from major automakers’ shares following the release of disappointing sales data.

By lunchtime in New York, the Dow Jones was up 0.17 per cent to 20,948, while the benchmark S&P 500 and Nasdaq indices were holding relatively flat with minor gains of around 0.05 per cent apiece.

The IT sector was leading gains on both the Dow and S&P 500, ahead of quarterly results after the closing bell from Apple. Investors will be closely watching the iPhone maker’s performance, and a strong showing may provide the jump-start needed to propel Wall Street to another batch of record highs.

The Big 3 automakers remained under pressure, with shares of General Motors down 3.25 per cent, Ford down 4 per cent and Fiat Chrysler off 4.4 per cent following larger-than-expected falls in their April sales figures.

The dollar index, which measures the buck against a basket of its peers, had backed off of its high of the day to flat at 99.105, while yield on the 10-year US Treasury was down 1.1 basis point to 2.3 per cent, moving inversely to its price, ahead of this week’s meeting of the Federal Reserve.

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