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’s 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.
He 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 also 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.”
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, 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 recent fatal crash in Ethiopia.
Facebook 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. It said it had restored the service to its main app and Instragram.
After the bell, Facebook’s stock was down 1.9 percent as Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post that Chief Product Officer Chris Cox will leave the social media network.
Among the day’s advancers, General Electric 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 rose 1.1 percent, extending recent gains, after brokerage Cowen and Co started coverage with an “outperform” rating. An Apple-led technology rally has propped markets recently.
On the economic front, a Commerce Department report showed sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell more than expected in January, suggesting the 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.
(Additional reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Diane Craft and Susan Thomas)