* Upcoming meeting between Trump, Xi in focus
* Defensive stocks lead indexes modest gains
* Steel cos drop as China steel futures enter bear territory
* Indexes up: Dow 0.10 pct, S&P 0.13 pct, Nasdaq 0.07 pct (Updates to late afternoon, changes dateline and byline)
By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK, Nov 27 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks made small gains on Tuesday after White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said a meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart on Saturday was an opportunity to “turn the page” on a trade war.
All three major U.S. indexes turned positive after spending much of the session in negative territory, after Kudlow’s comments days ahead of the high-stakes dinner between the two leaders after the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.
But Kudlow also said the White House has been disappointed so far in China’s response to trade issues with the United States. On Monday, Trump threatened to move ahead with additional tariffs on Chinese goods, due to take effect on Jan. 1.
“People want to believe that something good is going to come from the G20” meeting, said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York. “(But) the longer it takes, the more concern the market feels that this is never going to happen, or it’s just more rhetoric and people start to lose faith.”
Trade-sensitive industrials and materials sectors were down 0.6 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
Industrials were also the biggest drag on the Dow index, led by United Technologies Corp, which was down 5.5 percent following its announcement late Monday that it would divide its aerospace, elevators and building segments into three discrete companies.
U.S. steel company stocks dropped as China’s steel sector slid into bear territory, with the benchmark rebar contract down more