Fresh U.S.-China Trade Worries Erase Early Gains For Stocks

NEW YORK (AP) -

Wall Street closed out a volatile week with losses Friday as investors worried that upcoming trade talks aimed at resolving the costly trade war between Washington and Beijing could be in trouble.

The selling, which erased modest early gains for the market, snapped a three-week win streak for the S&P 500. The benchmark index is still up 2.2% for September.

The afternoon market slide came as investors reacted to published reports indicating Chinese officials canceled a planned trip to farms in Montana and Nebraska and would be returning to China. Representatives from the U.S. and China were engaging in preliminary discussions over the next two weeks to lay the groundwork for more formal negotiations next month.

The reports about the Chinese delegation came after President Donald Trump told reporters during a midday news conference that he wants a complete deal with China and won’t accept one that only addresses some of the differences between the two nations. Mr. Trump also said he doesn’t feel he needs to secure an agreement before next year’s election.

The S&P 500 fell 14.72 points, or 0.5%, to 2,992.07. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 159.72 points, or 0.6%, to 26,935.07. The index had been up about 100 points then swung as low as 168 points.

The Nasdaq lost 65.20 points, or 0.8%, to 8,117.67, weighed down by declining technology sector stocks. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks slid 1.71 points, or 0.1%, to 1,559.76.

Major European indexes closed mostly lower.

Even with Friday’s selling, the S&P 500 remains relatively close to its all-time high. The benchmark index held steady this week despite volatility caused by a swing in oil prices and the Fed’s latest interest rate cut.

Technology stocks accounted for the biggest share of the market’s losses. The sector is particularly sensitive to swings on the trade conflict because many companies manufacture products in China. Apple slid 1.5% and Microsoft dropped 1.2%.

Retailers and other companies that benefit from consumer spending also declined broadly. Amazon fell 1.5% and Starbucks dropped 1.6%.

Financial stocks veered lower as bond yields declined. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.72% from 1.77% Thursday. Bond yields, which can affect interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, slid steadily all week. Bank of America and American Express each fell 0.8%.

Shares in health care companies and utilities stocks rose. Johnson & Johnson added 1.2% and Exelon gained 1.4%.

Semiconductor maker Xilinx tumbled 6.8% as its chief financial officer, Lorenzo Flores, leaves the company for Toshiba Memory Holdings, where he will be vice chairman.

Benchmark crude oil fell 4 cents to settle at $58.09 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, dropped 12 cents to close at $64.28 a barrel.

Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.68 per gallon. Heating oil declined 1 cent to $1.99 per gallon. Natural gas fell 1 cent to $2.53 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose $8.90 to $1,507.30 per ounce, silver fell 3 cents to $17.74 per ounce and copper was unchanged at $2.59 per pound.

The dollar fell to 107.67 Japanese yen from 107.97 yen on Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.1015 from $1.1052.