Market Update: U.S. Stocks MIxed as Apple Unveils New iPhones; Cryptocurrencies Sink to New 2018 Lows

U.S. stocks traded mixed on Wednesday, with tech shares paring losses after Apple Inc. unveiled its new iPhone lineup. Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies set new lows for the year as bitcoin absorbed an even larger share of the overall market.

Stocks Finish Mixed

After a mostly downbeat session, the S&P 500 Index pared losses in the final hour of trade to finish flat at 2,888.91. Losses were concentrated in finance and technology,  the S&P’s two largest sectors by market cap. Losses in these sectors offset gains in telecommunication services and consumer discretionary shares.

After back-to-back gains, the Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 0.2% to 7,954.23.

Dow industrials were up triple digits midway through the session before paring gains down the stretch. The Dow 30 closed at 25,998.92, having gained 0.1%.

The CBOE VIX, Wall Street’s preferred measure of investor anxiety, declined 1.4% to 13.02. VIX trades on a mean-reverting scale of 1-100 where 20 represents the historic averae.

Apple Introduces New iPhone Lineup

Apple unveiled larger iPhones and watches Wednesday but decided to stick with existing product designs, confirming analysts’ expectations that the tech giant is only making minor modifications to its lineup.

CEO Tim Cook unveiled the iPhone XS with its 5.8-inch screen and the iPhone XS Max, which features a 6.5-inch screen and will cost $1,099. The ‘S’ suffix represents iPhone upgrades that have the same exterior designs as the previous version. The upgrade allows Apple to raise the cost on its iPhone products for revenue growth at a time when global smartphone sales are levelling off.

Earlier this year, Apple became the first publicly traded U.S. company to reach a market value of $1 trillion.

Cryptocurrencies Stumble

The cryptocurrency market Wednesday set a new low for the year, as Ethereum resumed its perpetual decline and bitcoin cash fell sharply on hard-fork speculation. The combined value of all coins in circulation reached a low of $186.2 billion, according to CoinMarketCap, before recovering to around $191 billion later in the day.

Bitcoin was resilient in the face of broad market declines. The leading digital currency steadied around $6,334 for a 57.1% share of the overall market cap. BTC’s trade volumes approached $4 billion on major exchanges.

In terms of percentage losses, the crypto market’s eight-month downtrend now exceeds the dotcom bust of 2000. Since peaking in January, cryptocurrencies have shed nearly 80% in combined market capitalization.

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