Stocks: S&P, Dow Slip as Trade Worries Drag On

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Stocks: S&P, Dow Slip as Trade Worries Drag On
Credit: © Reuters.

Investing.com – The U.S.-China trade negotiations continued to hover over U.S. stocks, sending the major averages modestly lower on the day.

The S&P 500 and the Dow were each off about 0.2%, and the NASDAQ Composite slipped 0.24%, and the Nasdaq 100 index dropped 0.22%.

It was the third loss in a row for both the Dow and the S&P 500 and second in a row for the Nasdaq and Nasdaq 100.

The Dow's three-day decline was its first since August. The S&P's 3-day decline was its first since September.

Going into Friday, all four indexes are down for the week. A weekly loss for the Dow would be its first after rising for four weeks. The S&P would see its first loss after six weeks of gains, and the Nasdaq's streak of seven weekly gains is threatened.

That the index changes on Thursday were so similar suggests that most of the buying and selling was being generated by computer algorithms and that many investors are waiting for a trade deal to get done.

This week's declines are not big. The S&P 500 , Dow and Nasdaq are still trading within 1.2% of their all-time highs, but they have run into resistance this week. That could make stocks vulnerable to profit-taking.

The Dow ended the day with 15 stocks up and 15 stocks down.

The best news for investors was another gain for energy stocks, which were the best-performing S&P 500 sector of the market by far, rising 1.5% as oil prices moved more than 2.5% higher. Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM ) topped the Dow stocks with a 2.4% gain.

Pushing energy shares higher, according to Investing.com columnist Barani Krishnan, is Saudi Arabian moves to keep oil prices up ahead of the pricing for the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil giant. Aramco is expected to price its offering next month.

West Texas Intermediate crude rose $1.57 to $58.58 in New York and is up more than 5% since Tuesday.

Tech stocks were the laggards, with chips hardest hit because of worries about the uncertainty surrounding the U.S.-China trade negotiations. Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG ), Visa (NYSE: V ) and Boeing (NYSE: BA ) also weighed on the market.

A bullish economic signal was a report that existing home sales rose more than expected in October. The National Association of Realtors said lower mortgage rates and tight supplies drove sales up by their highest rate in two years.

Only three of the 11 S&P 500 sectors were higher: energy, communications services and health care. The weakest were real estate, consumer staples and consumer discretionary stocks.

L Brands (NYSE: LB ), parent of The Limited; Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW ), Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN ) and Noble Energy (NYSE: NBL ) were the top S&P 500 performers on the day.

E-TRADE Financial (NASDAQ: ETFC ), chip-equipment-maker KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ: KLAC ), Applied Materials (NASDAQ: AMAT ) and ConAgra Foods (NYSE: CAG ) were the S&P 500 laggards.

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