Market Update: Trillion-Dollar Apple Sends Nasdaq Surging amid Lingering Tariff Threat

U.S. stocks finished mostly higher on Thursday, as Apple’s trillion-dollar valuation propelled tech shares forward. Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies extended their losing streak to four days as altcoins shed another $5 billion in market cap.

Nasdaq Surges

The Nasdaq Composite Index was Wall Street’s best performing average by a wide margin, gaining 1.2% to 7,802.68. The tech-heavy index has now gained in each of the last three sessions, partially offsetting a volatile end to July.

The broader S&P 500 Index rose 0.5% to 2,827.22, a fresh one-week high. Gains were concentrated in six of 11 primary sectors, with information technology rising 1.5%.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average pared losses to finish flat at 25,326.53.

Shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) surged to record highs on Thursday, becoming the first publicly-traded U.S. company to cross the trillion-dollar value mark. The record surge comes in the wake of yet another stellar quarterly report, which saw the iPhone maker beat on top- and bottom-line estimates.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX declined on Thursday, as calm returned to Wall Street following a volatile end to July. The so-called “investor fear index” declined 7.3% to 12.19 on a scale of 1-100 where 20 represents the historic average.

Trade Risks Linger

Trade tensions between the United States and China intensified Thursday after President Donald Trump proposed 25% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The new tariff threat came less than a month after the Trump administration implemented 25% levies on $34 billion worth of imports from China.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Trump increased the levy to 25% from 10% after China refused to meet Washington’s demands, opting instead to issue retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods.

Hacked previously reported that representatives from both countries had met in secret in an attempt to revive negotiations. However, no further meetings are planned at this time.

Altcoins Lead Crypto Market Lower

The cryptocurrency market fell to fresh two-week lows Thursday, though virtually all of the decline was concentrated in altcoins and tokens.

The combined value of digital currencies, inclusive of bitcoin and the broader altcoin universe, reached a low near $266 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. The market peaked at $277 billion earlier in the day.

Bitcoin’s price held above $7,500 after trading within a narrow range. The leading digital currency by market capitalization is down roughly $1,000 from last week’s high.

Ethereum, Ripple XRP and the rest of the majors were down between 1.4% and 7% on Thursday.

Like previous downturns, the latest slump has been accompanied by diminishing trade volumes. Daily turnover fell below $13 billion on Thursday but has since recovered to around $13.5 billion, based on latest available data.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi