FYI: U.S. stocks edged lower Thursday as investors assessed conflicting signals on prospects for the U.S.-China trade talks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.20%, a day after the gauge of blue-chip stocks logged its biggest fall of the month. The S&P 500 slipped 0.16%, and the Nasdaq Composite slid 0.24%. All three major U.S. indexes earlier this week notched the latest in a string of recent all-time highs.
Investors continued to monitor the drumbeat of headlines on attempts to resolve trade tensions between the U.S. and China.
China’s chief trade negotiator late last week invited his American counterparts for a new round of face-to-face talks, according to people briefed on the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. Chinese officials hope the negotiations can take place before the Thanksgiving holiday, but the U.S. side hasn’t committed to a date.
That report came less than a day after President Trump criticized China’s efforts to reach a trade agreement, escalating concerns that the world’s two biggest economies won’t reach a deal this year.
Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 index retreated 0.4%, led by losses in sectors most exposed to the global economic impact of worsening trade tensions.
Investors who parsed Federal Reserve meeting minutes released Wednesday found central bank officials said little about what would prompt them to resume interest-rate cuts when they signaled a pause following last month’s rate reduction.
The health of the U.S. economy has been a focus of investors, and a recent drive into shares of economically sensitive companies, like banks and manufacturers, has suggested optimism about the economic outlook. New data Thursday showed the number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits held steady at a near five-month high last week, above the level expected by economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal. The recent rise in jobless claims could be an early indication of a cooling labor market, or it could reflect seasonal volatility around the holidays.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury was 1.781%, up from 1.737% Wednesday. Bond yields rise as prices fall.
Energy shares led gains among S&P 500 sectors, rising 1.1% as U.S. crude oil rose 2.3%.
Company-specific news drove swings in individual stocks. Shares of Charles Schwab jumped 6.6% after CNBC reported that the brokerage is in talks to buy TD Ameritrade Holding and a deal could be announced as early as Thursday. TD Ameritrade surged 18%. Rival E*Trade Financial dropped 9%.
Shares of Tiffany rose 2.6% following a Reuters report that LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE has gained access to the jewelry retailer’s books after it improved its takeover offer to nearly $16 billion.
Bloomberg Evening Briefing:https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-21/your-evening-briefing
WSJ: Markets At A Glance:https://markets.wsj.com/us
Major ETFs % Change:https://www.barchart.com/etfs-funds/etf-monitor
SPDR's Sector Tracker:http://www.sectorspdr.com/sectorspdr/tools/sector-tracker
SPDR's Bloomberg Sector Performance Pie Chart:https://www.bloomberg.com/markets/sectors