Stocks finished lower Wednesday. The Dow fell 21 points to 25,390 while the S&P 500 slipped 6 points to 2,731. The Nasdaq Composite was off 26 points to 7,375.
The major averages snapped a multi-day winning streak as potential political and trade headwinds offset generally positive corporate updates. In geopolitics, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin confirmed trade talks will take place next week between U.S. and Chinese leaders and he remains optimistic the two sides can secure a new agreement. On the data front, an update on the housing market revealed mortgage applications fell 2.5% in the most recent week even as mortgage rates continue to fall. A separate update showed the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $49.3 billion in November.
Eight of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in negative territory with the Communications Services sector the loss leader. Shares of Electronic Arts slipped 13.3% to $80.21 while Take-Two Interactive tumbled 13.8% to $92.53 after both video-game developers fell short of analyst earnings estimates. Semi-conductors offered a bright spot today as Microchip climbed 7.3% to $89.31 after management stated it feels the sector downtrend “is nearing its end”. Elsewhere, General Motors added 1.6% to $39.91 after the carmaker topped earnings projections.
Breadth was negative on issues by 3:2 on the NYSE and by 8:7 on the NASDAQ. Composite NYSE Volume totaled more than 3.4 billion shares.
Treasuries were stronger as the yield on the 10-year note fell one basis point to 2.69%. In commodities, WTI crude added 0.6% to $53.96/barrel. COMEX gold fell 0.4% to $1309.50/ounce.