Stocks finished mixed on Wednesday. The Dow lost 72 points to 25,985 while the S&P 500 eased 1 point to 2,792. The Nasdaq Composite added 5 points to 7,554.
The S&P 500 inched lower for a second consecutive day as investors focused on geopolitical proceedings and corporate earnings updates. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer tempered recent optimism in testimony to Congress, stating China will need to make further concessions in order to reach an acceptable trade accord. On the data front, updates on the housing market were generally positive. Pending home sales jumped 4.6% in January, snapping a six month streak of declines, while mortgage applications rose more than expected last week amid lower rates.
Seven of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished negative with Health Care shares lagging amid Congressional scrutiny concerning drug pricing. In earnings news, Mylan lost 15.1% to $26.01 after the generic drug maker provided disappointing 2019 guidance. Retailers were a bright spot, with Best Buy jumping 14.1% to $68.82 after topping Wall Street expectations for same-store sales. Lowe’s added 2.5% to $107.62 as the home improvement giant provided a positive forward outlook.
Breadth was even on issues on the NYSE and positive by 5:4 on the Nasdaq. NYSE Composite volume was 3.8 billion shares.
Treasuries weakened, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note rising four basis point to 2.68%. In commodities, WTI crude jumped 2.7% to $56.99/barrel after a report showed the U.S. imported the lowest amount of crude oil in 23 years last week.