(Reuters) – U.S. stocks dipped on Thursday weighed down by concerns of a delay in trade talks between the United States and China, and data which showed a higher-than-expected fall in new home sales in January.
A meeting between President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping to sign an agreement to end their trade dispute was more likely to take place in April at the earliest, Bloomberg reported, a day after Trump said he was in no rush to complete a trade pact with China.
“The market has been pricing the prospects of an imminent trade deal with China and news of it being pushed back creates more uncertainty and investors want to see a resolution,” said Paul Brigandi, managing director and head of trading at Direxion in New York.
Trade-sensitive Caterpillar Inc fell 0.7 percent, while Boeing, the single largest U.S. exporter to China, dipped 0.3 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.
Meanwhile, a Commerce Department report showed new home sales fell 6.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 607,000 units in January, which was well below estimates, suggesting the housing market weakness persisted early in the first quarter.
The PHLX housing index fell 0.68 percent on the news, while the broader real estate sector declined 0.2 percent.
“Construction and new home sales have slowed as the economy slowed down, but as data continues to come in weaker, it just validates the Fed’s argument to not raise rates,” said Brigandi.
The slip in markets comes after the S&P and Nasdaq posted three consecutive sessions of gains this week, as benign inflation data underscored the Federal Reserve’s patient stance on future interest rate hikes.
In a bright spot, Apple Inc rose 0.7 percent and was the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, after brokerage Cowen and Co started coverage with an “outperform” rating.
At 11:05 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 18.82 points, or 0.07 percent, at 25,684.07. The S&P 500 was down 2.75 points, or 0.10 percent, at 2,808.17 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 8.38 points, or 0.11 percent, at 7,635.03.
UK lawmakers on Wednesday voted in favor of a motion that ruled out a potentially disorderly “no-deal” Brexit under any circumstance, though another crucial vote to delay leaving the European Union is pending on Thursday evening.
Facebook Inc dropped 1.98 percent after a 17-hour partial outage made the world’s largest social network inaccessible to users across the globe, driving a wave of online complaints.
Johnson & Johnson slipped 0.8 percent after a California jury awarded $29 million to a woman who said that asbestos in the company’s talcum-powder-based products caused her cancer.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.24-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.29-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 23 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 34 new highs and 25 new lows.
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