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Wall St. ends down slightly on trade, oil price concerns

Reuters  |  NEW YORK 

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street ended a choppy trading session lower on Thursday, as investors grappled with escalating trade tensions and rising

Comments by U.S. that "has become very spoiled on trade," cast doubt on his efforts to avoid a tariff war between the world's two largest economies, increasing investor jitters at the outset of a second round of high-level negotiations.

"I think this trade mess is certainly affecting the mood," said Jim Bell, chief investment officer Advisors in Oakland,

"This is becoming very real, American businesses are suffering," Bell said. "The trouble with tariffs, is they're always bad, they always increase the costs of almost everything for consumers and they destroy more jobs than they create."

Unrest in the suggested a reduction of and sent crude prices to their highest level in three-and-a-half years. The index <.SPNY> was up 1.3 percent, the largest gains of the sectors.

U.S. small-cap stocks fared better than their larger rivals. The index <.RUT> closed at a record high for a second day in a row, while larger firms with more international exposure were pressured by rising and a strengthening dollar.

"Small companies are not as exposed to international trade dynamics," said Bell.

Economic reports showed U.S. unemployment rolls dropping to their lowest level since 1973 and manufacturers asking higher prices for their products. The tightening labor market conditions and firming inflation bolster the likelihood of a Federal Reserve rate hike next month.

U.S. 10-year Treasury yields closed at 3.1131 percent, maintaining their near seven-year high and pressuring rate-sensitive sectors as investors ponder whether bonds offer an attractive alternative to riskier equities.

The <.DJI> fell 54.95 points, or 0.22 percent, to 24,713.98, the <.SPX> lost 2.33 points, or 0.09 percent, to 2,720.13 and the Composite <.IXIC> dropped 15.82 points, or 0.21 percent, to 7,382.47.

So-called defensive stocks were among the worst performer among the 11 sectors of the Rate-sensitive telecom <.SPLRCL>, and utility <.SPLRCU> shares were down in the face of increasing bond yields.

Cisco Systems' stock was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, falling 3.8 percent despite beating profit and revenue estimates in its post-market earnings report. In a research note, said investor perception is that the company is losing market share.

The S&P 500 sector <.SPLRCT> was down 0.5 percent.

shares were down 1.9 percent. said profit margins remained under pressure due to price cuts and higher freight costs, weighing on its shares even as sales and earnings came in stronger than expected..

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.15-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.52-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 26 new 52-week highs and four new lows; the Composite recorded 149 new highs and 30 new lows.

Volume so far on U.S. exchanges was 6.37 billion shares, compared to the 6.65 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

(Reporting by Stephen Culp; Editing by Susan Thomas)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 18 2018. 02:28 IST
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