U.S. stock indexes moved slightly lower on Thursday as investors moved to the sidelines with mixed messages and no concrete signs of progress on U.S.–China relations.
This was a day after stocks sold off on a report that a phase 1 U.S.-China deal was not likely to happen this year. As a result, investors were wary of putting further bets on a trade deal and keeping in mind that stocks are still near record highs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 54.80 points, or 0.2%, to 27,766.29, the S&P 500 lost 4.92 points, or 0.16%, to 3,103.54, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 20.52 points, or 0.24%, to 8,506.21.
While the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits was unexpectedly unchanged at a five-month high last week, suggesting some labor market softening, U.S. home sales increased more than expected in October and house prices rose at the fastest pace in more than two years amid lower mortgage rates and a supply shortage.
Three of the S&P 500’s 11 major industry sectors rose, with energy showing the biggest gain at 1.6% as oil prices gained on hopes that OPEC and its allies were likely to extend output cuts until mid-2020..
Real estate showed the biggest decline at 1.4%, while technology was the biggest drag on the benchmark index with a 0.5% drop.
Shares in TD Ameritrade Holding Corp surged 16.9% after CNBC reported bigger rival Charles Schwab Corp was in talks to buy the discount brokerage. Schwab’s shares gained 7.3%. Rival E*Trade Financial lost 9.3%.
Tiffany & Co gained about 2.6% after a Reuters report that LVMH persuaded the jewelry chain to allow it to access its books following a raised bid.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.55-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.37-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 11 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 52 new highs and 88 new lows.
On U.S. exchanges, 6.83 billion shares changed hands, compared with the 7.05 billion average for the last 20 sessions.