US stock indexes edge lower in afternoon trading; oil…

U.S. stock indexes veered slightly lower in late-afternoon trading Thursday ahead of a new round of trade talks between the U.S. and China. Losses in technology stocks, utilities and other sectors outweighed gains in energy and industrial companies. Small-company stocks were faring better than the rest of the market.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index slipped 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,720 as of 3:22 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 61 points, or 0.3 percent, to 24,707. The Nasdaq composite fell 11 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,387. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 10 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,626, a day after it closed at an all-time high.

TRADE JITTERS: The Trump administration was scheduled to resume talks in Washington with senior Chinese officials seeking to ward off a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. But while fielding questions from reporters Thursday afternoon, Trump suggested the talks may not end up averting a trade war with China: “Will that be successful? I tend to doubt it,” Trump said.

Trader Robert Moran works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, May 17, 2018. U.S. stocks edged higher in morning trading Thursday, having shaken off an early stumble, as investors weighed the latest batch of company earnings news. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The Trump administration has proposed tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese products to punish Beijing for forcing American companies to turn over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market. China has countered by targeting $50 billion in U.S. products.

Neither country has

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