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S&P 500 eases amid U.S.-China trade uncertainty

Stock MarketsMar 14, 2019 05:15PM ET
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© Reuters. Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 slipped on Thursday, snapping a three-day streak of gains, as uncertainty over when a trade deal between the United States and China would be reached left investors on edge.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that discussions with China to end a months-long trade war are progressing quickly, though Trump said he could not say whether a final deal would be reached.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had been expected to hold a summit in Florida this month, but no date has been set. A person familiar with the matter told Reuters there "were rumblings" about a possible meeting late next month.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that a meeting between the two was more likely to take place in April at the earliest.

Chipmakers, which rely on China for a large portion of their revenue, lost ground, with the Philadelphia SE chip index off 0.6 percent.

"The good news is mildly negative news on China trade doesn't tip the apple cart over anymore," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

"But breaking out of the next level of resistance has been a wall to get through. It shows we're probably range-bound 2,750 to 2,800 until we get answers to China trade, Brexit etc.," he said, referring to the level of the S&P 500.

In the latest of a series of votes, British lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to seek a delay in Britain's exit from the European Union.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 7.05 points, or 0.03 percent, to 25,709.94, the S&P 500 lost 2.44 points, or 0.09 percent, to 2,808.48, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 12.50 points, or 0.16 percent, to 7,630.91.

Boeing (NYSE:BA) Co, the single largest U.S. exporter to China, slipped 1 percent. The world's largest planemaker had its own troubles this week after its money-spinning 737 MAX jets were grounded globally following a fatal crash in Ethiopia on Sunday.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares fell 1.8 percent to $170.17 after the world's largest social network suffered a major outage that frustrated users across the globe for about 24 hours. Facebook said it had restored the service to its main app and Instagram.

After the bell, Facebook's stock was down 1.5 percent after Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post that chief product officer Chris Cox will leave the social media network.

Shares of Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) were down 2.1 percent in extended trading after the company gave a disappointing revenue forecast for the current quarter as it reported quarterly results.

During the regular session, General Electric (NYSE:GE) shares rose 2.8 percent to $10.30 after Chief Executive Larry Culp set conservative profit targets for this year and vowed for a better 2020 and beyond.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose 1.1 percent to $183.73, extending recent gains, after brokerage Cowen and Co started coverage with an "outperform" rating. An Apple-led technology rally has propped up markets recently.

On the economic front, a U.S. Commerce Department report showed sales of new single-family homes fell more than expected in January, suggesting that housing market weakness persisted early in the first quarter.

The PHLX housing index dipped 0.5 percent on the news.

The downbeat housing data followed tame inflation reports this week, which underscored the Federal Reserve's patient stance on future interest rate hikes.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.24-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.33-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 42 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 66 new highs and 46 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.69 billion shares, compared to the 7.37 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

S&P 500 eases amid U.S.-China trade uncertainty
 

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James Kelly
James Kelly Mar 14, 2019 3:56PM ET
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Hello? The chart is outright BEARISH. Worse, the stock markets parallels and usually leads the economy. At present, the overwhelming evidence is DISMAL, and globally positive pockets of growing economies are shrinking fast. This is a TERRIBLE time to be bullish. Any negative catalyst or material event could create a panic sell-off as generally stocks are ripe for serious profit taking. Be wise. The wall street adage is IF IN DOUBT... GET OUT. The best equity sector at present is GOLD and precious metals whereby BREAKOUTS (Turtle Theory) are taking place in most equities that were previously at multi year lows. So intermarket analysis as well is turning cautious at minimum and outright bearish in many sectors. Looking to short? Look at Arista (network company) with an outrageous PE.
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Gabe Domen
Gabe Domen Mar 14, 2019 3:21PM ET
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Looks that until some real news are known this will be very boring. But the only clear thing is that the market is very scare to selloff.
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Luu Hung
Luu Hung Mar 14, 2019 11:44AM ET
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Very good news. All in for Long position lol
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Christoph Willywonka
Christoph Willywonka Mar 14, 2019 7:56AM ET
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When reality sinks it it will be too late. which will lead to steep declines with actual volume
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Christian Busse
Christian Busse Mar 14, 2019 7:54AM ET
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i wonder when the buying of hot air will stop
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