Stocks end day flat in an erratic session mired by trade angst, but indexes book strong weekly gains

U.S. stocks finished mostly flat on Friday in a session marked by whipsaw action in the middle of the session, spurred by a report that President Donald Trump still wants to impose tariffs on China despite recent suggestions that tensions between Washington and Beijing were easing. The Dow Jones Industrial DJIA, +0.03% ended the session up about 9 points, or less than 0.1%, at 26,155, the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.03% rose less than a point at 2,905, notching its fifth straight positive day, narrowly notching its longest win streak in about seven months. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.05% gave up less than 0.1% to close at 8,010. All three of the main benchmarks sunk after a report said Trump intended on imposing tariffs on China. Bloomberg reported that Trump instructed his team to proceed with tariffs on about $200 billion more in Chinese products, despite Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s recent attempts to restart talks with Chinese officials. Equity gauges shook off a late-morning report that Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, would plead guilty to two criminal charges on Friday and said he would cooperate in a broad investigation into the 2016 election. Still for the week, the Dow rose 0.9%, the S&P 500 gained 1.2%, flirting with a record close, while the Nasdaq booked a 1.4% weekly gain. Markets had been buoyed by a hope that a detente between Beijing and Washington on trade was near. On the economic front, retail sales rose a scant 0.1% in August, the government said Friday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 0.3% increase. Meanwhile, the import price index sank 0.6% in August, marking the second straight month and the biggest drop in 2 1/2 years for the cost of goods imported into the country, largely reflecting lower oil

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