Stocks ended the session lower Monday, as investors assessed the latest U.S.-China trade headlines. The Dow dropped 95 points, while the S&P 500 fell 0.5%. The Nasdaq Composite lost 0.3%.
Investors monitored mid-level negotiations that kicked off today and continue tomorrow, ahead of high-level talks scheduled to start on Thursday. Stocks were pressured earlier after Beijing indicated that its negotiators would not provide commitments on industrial reform, government subsidies, or intellectual property. However, China’s Commerce of Ministry said the country is open to a partial deal contingent on a timetable for more complex issues. This follows a volatile start to October, with disappointing domestic PMI readings reigniting concerns of an economic slowdown. The ISM’s gauges showed U.S. manufacturing activity hitting the worst level in a decade last month, while activity in the services sector fell to a three-year low. Monday’s consumer credit report topped analyst forecasts driven by school loans and non-revolving debt. Treasuries declined along the curve, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note advancing one basis points to 1.55%.
Ten of 11 S&P 500 sectors closed in negative territory, with the Communication Services the lone advancer. In corporate news, GE finished slightly lower after announcing plans to reduce its pension plan deficit by up to $8 billion and net debt by up to $6 billion. Shares of Uber advanced 2.4% after the ridesharing company was upgraded by an analyst citing better ride fundamentals and conservative management forecasts.
In commodities, WTI crude jumped 0.2% to $52.92/barrel. COMEX gold fell 1.0% to $1,490.60/ounce amid a stronger dollar.