Markets closed mostly lower on Thursday, with stocks moving in and out of positive territory, as investors continued to worry over the lack of clarity and progress in U.S.-China trade talks. The Fed’s efforts to normalize monetary policy faced criticism from President Donald Trump once again. This saw the S&P 500 and Nasdaq ending in the red. However, the Dow ended in positive territory.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) climbed 0.3% to close at 24,597.38. The S&P 500 declined 0.02% to close at 2,650.54. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 7,070.33, declining 0.4%. A total of 7.55 billion shares were traded on Thursday, lower than the last 20-session average of 8.02 billion shares. Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a 1.70-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 2.88-to-1 ratio favored declining issues.
The S&P 500 gave up 0.53 points, falling marginally. Materials and financials were the biggest laggards. The Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) and the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) gave up 1.2% and 0.7% each. However, utilities were one of the biggest gainers. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) gained 0.9%. Five of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors ended in negative territory.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq shed 27.98 points, as techs tocks gave up the initial gains. Shares of Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN declined 0.3%. At one point both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose as much as 0.7%.
Progress in Trade Talks Unclear
The United States and China have been making consorted efforts toward reaching a trade deal and resolving lingering disputes. This saw markets bouncing back on Wednesday on reports that China was ready to implement concessions in their industrial policy and also reduce auto tariffs.
The new plan, reportedly, would replace the existing Made in China 2025 plan, a framework that aims at making China self-dependent and a leader in robotics and clean-energy cars. Also, Trump in an interview to Reuters had said that he would intervene in the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, if that would ensure a trade deal with China.
However, investors started feeling jittery once again late Wednesday on news of China arresting a second Canadian national in retaliation to Wanzhou’s arrest. This once again dampened investors’ spirits on Thursday, as they continued to fret over the lack of clarity in U.S.-China trade talks.
Trump Criticizes Fed
In his latest criticism of the Fed, Trump in an interview to Fox News said that he expects the central bank to refrain from further rate hikes. Trump’s comments come just a week ahead of the Fed scheduled meeting to determine its interest rate policy. Economists believe that the Fed is expected to increase interest rate by a quarter points to a range between 2.25% to 2.5%.
Also, the Labor Department said that initial jobless claims fell in the week ended Dec 8 to 206,000, declining 27,000. This, somewhat, eased fears of steadily rising fears of layoffs.
Delta Air Lines, Inc. DAL recently provided an outlook for 2019 and the long term at its Investor Day. ( Read More )
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