Stocks – S&P Barely in Red as Trade Blues, Tech Weigh

© Reuters. – The S&P 500 dipped slightly Thursday on trade uncertainty and a fall in tech stocks led by Facebook.

The lost 0.09%, while the fell 0.16%. But rose 0.03%.

Facebook (NASDAQ:) came under pressure after The New York Times reported federal prosecutors had launched a probe into data deals the company made with other tech giants.

Losses in tech stocks, however, were offset by rise in Apple (NASDAQ:) amid bullish calls from analysts.

S.G. Cowen initiated coverage of Apple with an outperform rating, helping the iPhone maker add to its gains of more than 6% this week.

On the trade front there was little to cheer amid a Bloomberg report that a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, expected to take place at the end of March, could be pushed back to at least April.

Trade-sensitive sectors like materials and industrials ended lower, though the latter was underpinned by a 2.8% rise in shares of General Electric (NYSE:) on upbeat remarks from GE CEO Larry Culp about the conglomerate’s struggling power business.

Culp expects the company to generate fiscal 2019 adjusted profit between $0.50 to $0.60 a share and said he expected the power business to be “significantly better but negative” in 2020.

Retailers also weighed on the broader market, falling more than 1% amid a 7.5% slump in shares of Dollar General (NYSE:) on mixed fourth-quarter results.

Cloudera also delivered mixed , sending its share price tumbling 20%.

After hours, Oracle (NYSE:) posted that beat expectations from Oracle posted earnings of $0.87 a share on revenues of $9.6 billion.

In other corporate news, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:) reportedly was ordered to pay $29 million to a woman who claimed that asbestos in the company’s talcum-powder-based products caused her cancer.

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