landsberg bennettU.S. equities finished the session mixed Thursday as investors continue to monitor trade developments. The Dow ticked down one point, while the S&P 500 gained 0.1% to eke out its eighth record close in 14 sessions. The Nasdaq Composite fell less than 0.1%.

The major averages fluctuated after China’s Commerce Ministry spokesman reported that Washington and Beijing are in the midst of “in-depth” discussions concerning an initial agreement, but reiterated the importance of the U.S. rescinding some existing tariffs in order to reach an accord. Meanwhile, China also announced it will permit imports of qualified poultry from the U.S. beginning today.

Seven of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished the session in positive territory with Real Estate and Consumer Discretionary outperforming. In earnings news, Cisco Systems retreated 7.3% following a disappointing outlook, as the network gear maker cited rising global uncertainties. Walmart lost 0.3% despite topping analyst estimates for profit and comparable-store sales. Viacom gained 1.9% after 4th quarter profit and revenue topped analyst estimates. Department store Dillard’s jumped more than 14% after crushing analyst profit expectations and reporting no decline in same store sales.

Economic data garnered attention with Core PPI, which excludes the more volatile food and energy components, advancing 1.6% year-over-year in October, slowing from the prior 2.00% pace, but higher than analysts’ forecasts of 1.5%. Separately, initial jobless claims came in at 225,000, the highest level since June, and above the previous 211,000 figure. Treasuries strengthened with the yield on the benchmark 10-year bond losing six basis points to 1.82%.