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Nasdaq ends near record closing high as Wall Street stocks drift to mixed finish before holiday weekend

Friday is the deadline for a revised NAFTA deal to be forged by Canada, the US and Mexico; Apple's surge stokes strong technology sector

Nasdaq building.
Nasdaq ends strong week with a finish near a record closing high.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq index ended the week on a high note as it settled on Friday just shy of a record closing high, led by a rally in iPhone behemoth Apple

Nasdaq climbed 0.26% to finish at 8,109.54, a few points under the previous record close of 8,109.68 set on Wednesday, August 29. 

Smartphone giant Apple hit an all-time peak at US$228.87 before closing 1.16% higher at US$227.63. 

The shares were inspired by news that Apple will introduce its new set of iPhones on September 12.

The rest of Wall Street drifted into the close on Friday, as most players were already away ahead of a long holiday weekend.

Financial markets will be shut on Monday for US Labor Day, reopening for business on Tuesday.

Market participants took note of news that Canada’s chief trade negotiator Chrystia Freeland failed to reach an immediate trade agreement with the US to replace NAFTA.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average index eased 0.09% to end at 25,964.

The S&P 500 crawled up 0.01% to settle at 2,901.52.

The Russell 200 index of small-cap stocks added 0.56% to trade at 1,742.

In Canada, Toronto’s TSX declined 0.685 to trade around 16,260.

The market was held back by energy stocks which were hit by a controversial decision from the country’s Federal Court of Appeal to reject the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

1:00 PM: US stocks still struggle after Canada fails to reach immediate US trade agreement

With the exception of the Nasdaq, US indices marched downward in Friday’s afternoon session after Canada’s chief trade negotiator Chrystia Freeland failed to reach an immediate trade agreement with the US to replace NAFTA.

While Canada and the US are still locked in negotiations to come up with an alternative North American trade pact, which has already been agreed to by Mexico, an agreement has yet to be reached. “We’re not there yet,” is how Freeland described the state-of-play.

As the afternoon trading session gathered pace, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index shed 67 points to hover at 25,918 while the S&P 500 clung closer to the baseline, losing 5 points to trade at 2,896.

The tech-laden Nasdaq, meanwhile, stood apart from the pack to add 11 points and reach 8,099.

Up in Canada, Toronto’s TSX extended its losses to fall by 85 points to 16,286, held back by energy stocks which have taken a hit following a controversial decision by the country’s Federal Court of Appeal to reject the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

9:54: US stocks fail to find footing as US-Canada trade talks weigh on markets

US stocks traded lower Friday as concerns about the state of trade talks between the US and Canada surfaced ahead of today’s deadline to resurrect Nafta.

Today is the target date for a revised Nafta trade deal to be orchestrated by Canada, the US and Mexico. Negotiations have already finished that secure a trade partnership between Mexico and the US, but Canada is still involved in intense negotiations and has yet to join the agreement.

Early in the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index shed nearly 37 points to 25,950, led lower by Chevron, JP Morgan Chase & Company, Goldman Sachs and Boeing.

The S&P 500, meanwhile, stayed flat, losing 3 points to hover at 2,898, pulled back by slippage in the shares of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Coty Inc, Cooper Companies Inc and Activision Blizzard Inc.

The tech-laden Nasdaq bucked the trend to stay slightly positive at 8,090, pushed up by Ulta Beauty Inc, NetEase, Apple and Charter Communications Inc.

Up in Canada, Toronto’s TSX shed nearly 28 points to 16,343 while the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks slipped by 2 points to hover at 1,730.

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