Stocks finished mixed Thursday. The Dow added 70 points to 24597. The S&P 500 slipped less than a point to 2,650 while the Nasdaq Composite declined 27 points to 7070.
The major averages struggled for direction and finished little changed as investors await further trade updates. Overnight, Reuters reported that Chinese state-owned companies made their first “major purchase” of U.S. soybeans since President Trump and President Xi agreed to a “trade truce” in early December. On the data front, separate surveys showed import prices declined the most since late 2015 during November, while export prices fell more than expected in the same time period. A separate report showed initial jobless eased in the most recent week and are near a 49-year low.
Six of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished higher with Utilities and Consumer Staples the notable outperformers. Financials underperformed as the flattening yield curve pressured bank stocks. Elsewhere, broad weakness in the Consumer Discretionary and Materials groups offset modest gains in Tech shares. In corporate news, General Electric jumped 7.3% to $7.20 following a surprise upgrade from an influential Wall Street analyst.
Breadth was negative on issues by 9:5 on the NYSE and 8:3 on the Nasdaq. Composite NYSE Volume totaled more than 3.8 billion shares.
Treasuries were mixed as the yield on the 10-year climbed one basis point to 2.91%. In commodities, WTI crude advanced 3.6% to $52.98/barrel, amid reports Saudi Arabia will cut its U.S. oil exports to 30-year lows. COMEX gold slipped 0.1% to $1,242.70/ounce amid a stronger dollar.