Stocks finished lower Thursday as trade tensions between the U.S. and China continued to weigh on investor sentiment. The Dow lost 138 points while the S&P 500 briefly slipped below its 50-day moving average before closing down 0.3%. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.4%.
A series of trade related headlines from both the U.S. and China called into question whether the two sides would be able to finalize a trade pact ahead Friday’s unofficial deadline. The major averages pared losses in afternoon trading after President Trump suggested the possibility remains that both parties could agree to a new accord. Treasuries strengthened amid the perceived “risk off” tone, with the yield on the 10-year note dropping three basis points to 2.45%. On the data front, core producer price inflation rose 2.4% in April, matching the prior reading. A separate report showed the U.S. trade deficit rose to $50 billion in March despite the shortfall with China narrowing to a multi-year low.
The Technology sector paced the decline as shares of Intel fell 5.3% to $46.62, which marked the 11th loss in the past 12 sessions for the semiconductor company. The Materials group also lagged as the spike in trade tensions weighed on commodity prices. In earnings news, shares of Disney slipped 1.0% to $133.59 even after topping analyst expectations.
Breadth was negative on issues by 4:3 on the NYSE and by 3:2 on the Nasdaq. In commodities, WTI crude slipped 0.9% to $61.58/barrel. COMEX gold added 0.3% to $1,284.80/ounce. Composite NYSE volume totaled more than 3.6 billion shares.