US STOCKS-Wall Street ends mixed as Apple weighs on Nasdaq

Reuters - UK Focus

* Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) shares fall below $100

* Factory orders increase in July

* Airline shares fall with Delta

* Investors wait for ECB policy meeting

* Dow up 0.06 pct, S&P down 0.08 pct, Nasdaq off 0.56 pct (Updates to close)

By Akane Otani

NEW YORK, Sept 3 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks ended mostly downon Wednesday, as a decline in Apple shares dragged the Nasdaqlower and investors held off on big bets before the EuropeanCentral Bank's upcoming policy meeting.

Apple shares slid 4.2 percent to $98.94 in theirworst percentage decline since Jan. 28. At least one brokeragemulled downgrading the stock as Apple grappled with a possiblesecurity breach of its iCloud service a week before the launchof its new iPhone.

Rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, meanwhile,launched a virtual reality headset for its new Galaxy Note 4phablet using technology from Oculus VR, a company that FacebookInc acquired for $2 billion.

Apple's decline weighed on the technology sector,which lost 0.7 percent and was the worst performing of the 10major S&P groups. It also weighed down the benchmark S&P index,which had hit a record intraday high of 2,009.28 earlier in theday but finished nearly unchanged.

"The market has been on pause today. Everything on theeconomic front has been better than expected, but there's a bitof trepidation about the upcoming ECB meeting," said DouglasCote, chief market strategist at Voya Investment Management inNew York.

The European Central Bank will hold a monthly policy meetingon Thursday, where investors will look for clues that the ECBmay launch a bond-buying program.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 10.72 points,or 0.06 percent, to 17,078.28. The S&P 500 ended down1.55 points, or 0.08 percent, at 2,000.73. The Nasdaq Composite lost 25.62 points, or 0.56 percent, to end at 4,572.57.

Stocks had gained earlier after officials from Ukraine andRussia said they were close to an agreement to stop fighting ineastern Ukraine, but confusion lingered as Russia announcedplans to carry out military exercises.

Airline shares fell after Delta Airlines, down 5.2percent to $38.82, trimmed its operating margin forecast andsaid its international passenger traffic fell slightly inAugust. Shares (Frankfurt: DI6.F - news) of American Airlines Group Inc fell 3.4 percent to $39.14.

The latest data pointed to continued recovery in theeconomy. New orders for manufactured goods increased a record10.5 percent in July, and August auto sales were unexpectedlystrong, due in part to heavy discounting.

Housing stocks were weak, weighed down by a 4.7 percentdecline in Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL - news) to $33.95 after the largestU.S. luxury homebuilder posted quarterly results. The PHLXhousing index lost 1.6 percent. (Editing by Bernadette Baum, Nick Zieminski and Chizu Nomiyama)

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