Major Indexes Edge Lower Amid Trade Talk Concerns

(AP) -
Specialist Anthony Rinaldi, left, interacts with trader Fred DeMarco, right, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Major U.S. stock indexes fell slightly in afternoon trading Thursday as the market pulled back a day after hitting another all-time high.

Stocks were evenly split between gainers and losers on the S&P 500 index, but a big drop from internet gear maker Cisco dragged on the broader market. Walmart, which had been solidly higher earlier, veered slightly lower.

Investors turned more cautious as talks between the U.S. and China on a trade deal appear to hit some snags. China is pressing Washington to roll back tariffs as part of potential deal that the nations are currently negotiating.

President Donald Trump has been dismissive about any change on tariffs while negotiations continue. The latest potential hurdle comes a day after reports said that China is reluctant to commit to a specific amount of U.S. farm good purchases.

Investors hope that both nations can come to some sort of an agreement to avert new and potentially more damaging tariffs that are scheduled to take effect in the middle of next month. Those new tariffs would hit some popular consumer products, such as electronic devices, as well as everyday goods.

Technology stocks were the biggest losers. Cisco fell 7.8% after giving investors a surprisingly weak revenue forecast.

Banks also moved broadly lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.81% from 1.87% late Wednesday. Lower bond yields hurt banks’ ability to charge more lucrative interest rates on mortgages and other loans.

Retailers and other companies that rely on consumer spending held up best. Lowe’s rose 1.3% and Target added 1.8%.

Industrial and communication services stocks also notched gains. Boeing rose 1.5% and Netflix climbed 2.2%.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was down 0.1% as of 1:53 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 31 points, or 0.1% to 27,751. The Nasdaq slipped 0.1%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gained 0.1%.

European markets closed broadly lower.

MARKET OVERVIEW: Stocks are still trading near records. Both the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average reached new highs on Wednesday.

The broader market has been gaining ground for weeks on hopes that the U.S. and China can make progress in their latest push for a deal. Investors have also been encouraged by surprisingly good corporate earnings and data showing the economy is still growing solidly.

CHINA’S CHICKEN ORDER: Processed food companies, including Tyson Foods, moved higher after China decided to lift its four-year ban on U.S. poultry imports.

Tyson rose 1.3%, Sanderson Farms gained 3.3% and Pilgrim’s Pride edged up 0.4%.

The U.S. is the world’s second largest poultry exporter, with global exports of poultry meat and products of $4.3 billion last year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that more than $1 billion in poultry could be exported to China annually.

DILLARD’S DELIVERS: Shares in Dillard’s jumped 15.7% after the department store operator surprised Wall Street with a fiscal third-quarter profit and solid sales.

BAD CONNECTION: Cisco Systems slumped 7.7% after the seller of routers, switches and software issued a weak revenue forecast for its fiscal second quarter.

WORTH KEEPING: NetApp climbed 4.1% after the data storage company’s fiscal second-quarter profit beat Wall Street forecasts.