Stocks end mostly lower, end 3-day winning streak

U.S. stocks indexes barely budged Thursday as the market’s three-day winning streak stalled.

The benchmark S&P 500 index finished essentially flat as losses in communications, industrial and health care stocks outweighed gains in financial and technology companies. Several retailers and homebuilders also declined.

Reports of a criminal investigation into Facebook’s data-sharing practices weighed on the social media giant’s shares.

The market was coming off a solid three-day rally as it reclaimed some of the momentum it had in January and February.

Investors are still waiting for some more news on U.S.-China trade negotiations before they feel comfortable pushing the market much higher. Media reports had stoked hope that a summit would take place this month, but no concrete announcement has been made.

Despite some softness over the last few weeks, U.S. stocks are still considered a safe haven relative to the rest of the world, said Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist for Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

“We’re still the lead sled dogs here, we’re pulling the global economy along,” he said.

The S&P 500 index slipped 2.44 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,808.48. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 7.05 points, or 0.03 percent, to 25,709.94.

The Nasdaq composite dropped 12.50 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,630.91. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 6.25 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,549.63.

Major indexes in Europe finished higher.

The S&P 500, Nasdaq, Dow and Russell 2000 are showing double-digit gains for the year so far.

Still, investors spent Thursday in a wait-and-see mode, keeping a close watch on global trade issues and continuing to mostly brush off the chaos surrounding Britain’s exit from the European Union, its key trading bloc.

The S&P 500 has been holding within 2,750 and 2,850 points the past couple of weeks and

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