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Wall Street trims gains after Kudlow’s trade comments

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Via Reuters Finance

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks pared early gains on Thursday, with the S&P 500 hitting a session low, after hopes of a trade deal were dented by White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow’s comment that Washington may move ahead with more tariffs on Chinese goods.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

There were no preconditions set ahead of any trade talks with China, Kudlow said, ahead of President Donald Trump’s meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, this weekend.

Markets rose earlier in the session after South China Morning Post reported that the two sides were laying out an agreement that would help avert the next round of tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports.

“I think expectations for a deal are still fairly low. All markets want to see now is the trade deal is not worsening,” said Rick Meckler, partner, Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey.

“Stock prices are fairly high by most measures and for those looking to invest more, the lack of clarity keeps them from making that commitment.”

A Wall Street Journal report that the Chinese president planned to present Trump with a set of terms Washington should meet before Beijing is ready to settle their trade dispute also tempered optimism.

Financials .SPSY rose 0.62% with big lenders leading the charge, ahead of results of the second part of Federal Reserve’s annual stress test for banks.

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Semiconductor companies, which have a sizable revenue exposure to China, traded higher, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor index .SOX up 1.15%. The S&P technology sector .SPLRCT was up 0.10%.

Boeing Co (BA.N) fell 2.3%, pressuring the blue-chip Dow Jones index .DJI, after Reuters reported that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration identified a new flaw in the planemaker’s grounded 737 MAX jets.

At 11:37 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 39.14 points, or 0.15%, at 26,497.68 and the S&P 500 .SPX was up 5.97 points, or 0.20%, at 2,919.75.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 27.92 points, or 0.35%, at 7,937.89.

Data showed U.S. economic growth accelerated in the first quarter but the export and inventory boost to activity masked weakness in domestic demand, some of which appears to have prevailed in the current quarter.

Among other stocks, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA.O) gained 4.6%, the most on the S&P 500, after the drugstore chain beat analysts’ expectations for quarterly profit.

Ford Motor Co (F.N) rose 2% after the carmaker said it will have cut 12,000 jobs in Europe by the end of next year to try to return the business to profit.

Conagra Brands Inc (CAG.N) tumbled 11.4%, the most among S&P 500 companies, after the packaged food company’s quarterly sales and profit fell short of analysts’ estimates.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.98-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.32-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded six new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 19 new highs and 35 new lows.


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