Stocks finished mixed Wednesday. The Dow added 27 points to 25998, while the S&P 500 climbed 1 point to 2888. The Nasdaq Composite lost 18 points to 7954.
The major averages traded in a narrow range as easing geopolitical tensions were offset by broad weakness in Financial and Tech stocks. In geopolitics, a report indicated that the U.S. has proposed another round of trade talks with China. On the data front, an update on PPI revealed core producer prices (ex-food and energy) fell 0.1% sequentially in August, the first monthly decline in 18-months. The Fed released its latest Beige Book which revealed the economy expanded at a modest pace in August but cautioned trade concerns could impact future growth.
Eight of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished the session higher. Consumer Staples outperformed as Altria Group gained 6.7% to $63.43 on reports the FDA plans to crack down on e-cigarettes. Energy shares also provided a tailwind to the market in sympathy with higher oil prices. The Financials sector was down the most as JPMorgan fell 1.2% to $113.08 and SunTrust banks slipped 3.8% to $71.38. The Technology sector underperformed with semiconductors experiencing broad weakness following several analyst downgrades.
Breadth was positive on issues by 4:3 on the NYSE and slightly negative on the Nasdaq. Composite NYSE volume was more than 3.3 billion shares.
Treasuries were mostly stronger, with the yield on the 10-year note down two basis points to 2.96%. In commodities, WTI crude climbed 1.4% to $70.24/barrel. COMEX gold added 0.7% to $1205.40/ounce amid a weaker dollar.