NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks barely budged on Monday, with slight gains in shares of Apple offset by mixed economic data that added to caution over the prolonged U.S.-China trade war.
Apple Inc (AAPL.O) rose 0.5% after U.S. trade regulators approved 10 of 15 requests for tariff exemptions by the iPhone maker. Micron Technology Inc (MU.O), which supplies components to Apple, advanced 0.9%.
U.S. employment in the services sector shrank for the first time in 9-1/2 years in September, IHS Markit’s Purchasing Manager’s Index showed. The data also showed manufacturing activity rose in September, topping expectations.
Earlier in the day, a survey showed a manufacturing recession deepening in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy.
“What’s been a question within the market is whether or not we are headed toward a recession within the next 12 months. So all of the data releases are increasingly important,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.
Any upbeat data offers investors hope the United States will be able to avoid a recession, she said.
Investors also have been cautious about progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks after a Chinese agriculture delegation canceled a visit to Montana.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 14.92 points, or 0.06%, to 26,949.99, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.29 points, or 0.01%, to 2,991.78 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 5.21 points, or 0.06%, to 8,112.46.
“People are tentative and want to sit on the sidelines. We’re sitting here just below highs, and there’s no urgent need to chase them unless they break out, and of course no one wants to sell them either,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.
American Express (AXP.N) shares gained 1.2% after it announced a share repurchase plan and a dividend increase.
Juniper Networks Inc (JNPR.N) rose 2% as Needham upgraded the network gear maker’s stock to “buy.”
Boeing .BA.N edged lower after a Reuters report that European antitrust regulators were set to investigate the planemaker’s $4.75 billion bid for the commercial aircraft arm of Brazil-based Embraer SA (EMBR3.SA).
Additionally, the chief of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration was to detail progress on the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft inquiry to international air regulators.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.22-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.21-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 19 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 42 new highs and 50 new lows.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 5.90 billion shares, compared with the 7.1 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.
Additional reporting by Ambar Warrick and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall, Dan Grebler and Tom Brown