Uncertainty over US-China trade talks pushes stocks lower
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks slipped in early trading on Monday on Wall Street as investors weigh mixed signals about the status of U.S. trade talks with China.
Late last week, Chinese officials said both sides had agreed to roll back tariffs if the trade talks progressed. But Saturday, President Donald Trump said that reports on how far the U.S. is willing to go on rolling back tariffs were "incorrect" without elaborating. Investors hope the world's largest economies can make enough progress to avoid another round of tariffs scheduled to take effect next month.
Technology stocks led the decline in the early going. Qualcomm fell 2.7% and Micron slipped 2.1%. The sector is sensitive to shifts in trade war sentiment as many of the companies rely on China for sales and supply chains.
Banks also fell broadly. Citigroup shed 1%.
Bond markets are closed for the Veterans Day holiday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.93% late Friday.
Investors headed for more defensive positions. Real estate stocks and utilities held up better than the rest of the market. Companies in those sectors are considered safer investments to turn to when economic growth seems threatened.
Still, the market is showing solid gains for the fourth quarter so far. Hopes for a trade deal, along with solid economic reports and corporate profits, have fueled a rally since early October.
The S&P 500 index has posted gains for five straight weeks. It reached a record high on Friday.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 0.3% as of 10:20 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 98 points, or 0.4%, to 27,582. The Nasdaq fell 0.3%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks fell 0.5%.
WEEK AHEAD: Investors will be closely watching for any developments in U.S.-China trade talks this week as the latest corporate earnings season nears a close. Nearly 90% of the companies in the S&P 500 have already reported results, according to FactSet.
This will be a relatively quiet week for economic data.
The Labor Department will report October data for the Consumer Price Index on Wednesday and for the Producer Price Index on Thursday. The Commerce Department will report retail sales data for October on Friday.
DEAL CHATTER: Walgreens Boots Alliance rose 5.7% after Bloomberg reported that private equity giant KKR is interested in buying the drugstore operator. Media reports have been fueling speculation since last week about a potential Walgreens sale.
OVERSEAS: Asian markets fell. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 2.6% as protests intensified. Uncertainty has risen in the city after more than five months of protests that began with a fight over an extradition bill that has expanded to include demands for greater democracy and police accountability.
China's Shanghai Composite index declined 1.8%.
European markets also fell. Britain's FTSE 100 index shed 1.2% after the pound struck a one-week high of $1.2880. U.K. stocks often have an inverse relationship with the pound as many companies listed on the index are international companies so a higher currency could weigh on exports and reduce their earnings.