Apple boosts NASDAQ after Icahn tweet

US shares have held on to their gains late in the New York trading session, with Apple rising more than 5% after billionaire fund manager Carl Icahn revealed he is long the company.

The Dow Jones was up 0.37% at 15,471 in the last hour of trading on Wall Street, while the NASDAQ 100 advanced 0.71% to 3146, lifted by the strong performance of its largest-capitalised component, Apple. The iPhone maker soared 5.2% after well-known investor Carl Icahn announced on Twitter that he had take a ‘large position’ in the company. The tweet said ‘We currently have a large position in Apple. We believe the company to be extremely undervalued. Spoke to Tim Cook today. More to come.’

Apple responded by saying in a statement that ‘We appreciate the interest and investment of all our shareholders. Tim had a very positive conversation with Mr Icahn today.’ The timing of the announcement comes a day after media reports that Apple will be launching a new version of its iPhone in early September. Mr Icahn also revealed that he has spoken to CEO Tim Cook about another share buy back.

Shares also received a lift from remarks made by Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart, who said in a speech today that there is not a clear enough picture of economic improvement to make a detailed decision on tapering at the next FOMC meeting.

Data earlier in the day showed that import prices rose by just 0.2% in July, which suggests inflationary pressures remain subdued. The rise was lower than expected and will provide ammunition to doves at the Fed who are pushing to maintain stimulus.

Tomorrow we hear from St Louis Fed president James Bullard, who is speaking about monetary policy in Kentucky. Mr Bullard said back in July, after dissenting at the June FOMC meeting, that he thinks scaling back on stimulus would be a mistake unless inflation shows signs of returning to the Fed’s target level.

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