U.S. Stocks Slide as Modest Rally Fades Ahead of Trade Talks

A modest rally faded in the last few minutes of trading on Wall Street, leaving stocks slightly lower Wednesday ahead of the latest round of trade talks between the U.S. and China.

The late-afternoon reversal added to the market’s losses following a steep sell-off a day earlier as investors worry that the costly trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies will escalate.

Financial markets turned volatile this week after President Donald Trump threatened to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods, a threat that is set to become reality early Friday. Negotiations between the U.S. and China are scheduled to continue in Washington on Thursday, and will include China’s top trade official.

The S&P 500 index fell 4.63 points, or 0.2%, to 2,879.42. The benchmark index had been up 0.5%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 2.24 points, or less than 0.1%, to 25,967.33. The Nasdaq composite dropped 20.44 points, or 0.3%, to 7,943.32.

The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks slid 7.34 points, or 0.5%, to 1,574.97.

Major stock indexes in Europe closed with modest gains.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.48% from 2.44% late Tuesday.

Utilities, banks, internet companies and technology stocks accounted for much of the slide. NRG Energy fell 4.4%, Capital One Financial dropped 1.5%, Netflix slid 1.6% and Intel lost 2.5%. Health care stocks notched the biggest gains, led by McKesson Crop., which climbed 4.8%.

The U.S. government has filed plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25% Friday. If it follows through on those plans, it would mark a sharp escalation in the yearlong trade dispute that has raised prices on goods for consumers and companies.

Investors also continued to pore over the latest batch of corporate earnings reports.

Lyft slumped 10.8% in heavy trading after reporting a first quarter loss late Tuesday that was far wider than Wall Street had forecast.

The ride-hailing company lost $1.1 billion in its first quarter as a public company, primarily because it paid out $894 million in stock-based compensation and related payroll taxes during its initial public offering.

Lyft’s stock has now slumped 26.5% since its market debut on March 29. The report came just days before the hotly anticipated IPO of Lyft’s much larger rival, Uber, on Friday.

Traders punished TripAdvisor’s report of surprisingly low revenue during the first quarter. The stock tumbled 11.4%.

Qorvo climbed 3.4% after the chipmaker beat Wall Street’s fourth-quarter profit and revenue forecasts gave investors a strong forecast for the current quarter.

Energy futures finished higher. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 1.2% to settle at $61.12 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, added 0.7% to close at $70.37.

Wholesale gasoline gained 1.3% to $1.98 per gallon. Heating oil picked up 0.9% to $2.06 per gallon. Natural gas rose 2.9% to $2.61 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold dropped 0.3% to $1,281.40 per ounce, silver slid 0.4% to $14.86 per ounce and copper fell 0.4% to $2.77 per pound.

The dollar fell to 110.13 Japanese yen from 110.27 yen on Tuesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1192 from $1.1183.

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