Alice N. Sanders
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Alice N. Sanders in US Markets,

Apple takes a bite out of stocks

Falling Apple Inc. shares dragged the S&P 500 lower in Wednesday trading. Apple represents the most heavily-weighted component of the main benchmark as well as Nasdaq Composite.

The S&P 500 SPX, -0.08% closed 1.6 points, or 0.1% lower at 2,000.72. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.06% clung to a modest gain and finished the day 10.72 points, or 0.1%, higher at 17,078.28. The Nasdaq CompositeCOMP, -0.56% fell 25.62 points, or 0.6%, to 4,572.57.

Kim Caughey Forrest, senior equity analyst at Fort Pitt Capital, stressed that September tends to be a turbulent month for stocks.

Early optimism in light of a cease-fire agreement between Kiev and pro-Russian forces fizzled out by afternoon. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko had agreed Wednesday to the outlines of a cease-fire for eastern Ukraine, calling for the separatists there to end their offensive and Kiev to pull its forces back.

Movers and shakers: Apple Inc. AAPL, -4.22% shares sold off, falling 4.2% after Apple’s main rival Samsung unveiled Gear, a device which serves as an adapter, turning phablets into virtual reality 3-D screens. The drop in Apple shaved off nearly 3 points off the S&P 500.

Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc. INFI, +44.05% soared 44% after the biotech company announced a new collaboration with AbbVie Inc. ABBV, +0.80% to develop and commercialize Infinity’s duvelisib, a treatment for blood cancers.

Delta Air Lines Inc. DAL, -5.16% was the worst performer on the S&P 500, falling 5.2% after the company lowered its operating margin view for the third quarterand raised its fuel price outlook. Even as the airline company’s revenue per average seat mile increased 2% in August, the growth was at the lower end of the company’s expectations.

Shares in General Motors GM, -0.95% and Ford Motors F, -0.74% fell after both companies reported monthly sales numbers. Despite a spate of recalls, sales have continued to march upward, but lackluster numbers in August indicate a slowdown.

On the economic front, orders for goods produced in U.S. factories jumped in July, as expected, due to a surge in contracts for commercial aircraft, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

Separately, the economy continued on a moderate or modest growth path through late August, with only the housing sector lagging behind, according to the Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book report on current economic conditions.

Other markets: European stock markets SXXP, +0.65% rallied on the Ukraine-Russia cease-fire news. The German DAX 30 index DAX, +1.26% which is sensitive to news from Russia due to Germany’s close economic ties with the country, closed up 1.3% at 9,626.4.

Russian stocks XX:MCX and the ruble USDRUB, +0.11% also closed sharply higher.

In other currencies, the dollar DXY, +0.08% declined against most major currencies and slipped back from a one-year high against the euroUSDEUR, +0.07%

Oil prices CLV4, -0.86% traded higher, while metals were mixed.

In Asia, stocks closed mainly higher.