Wall St. edges higher at open on tech boost

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York

By Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks pared early gains on Thursday, with the S&P 500 hitting a session low, after hopes of a trade deal were dented by White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow’s comment that Washington may move ahead with more tariffs on Chinese goods.

There were no preconditions set ahead of any trade talks with China, Kudlow said, ahead of President Donald Trump’s meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, this weekend.

Markets rose earlier in the session after South China Morning Post reported that the two sides were laying out an agreement that would help avert the next round of tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports.

“I think expectations for a deal are still fairly low. All markets want to see now is the trade deal is not worsening,” said Rick Meckler, partner, Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey.

“Stock prices are fairly high by most measures and for those looking to invest more, the lack of clarity keeps them from making that commitment.”

A Wall Street Journal report that the Chinese president planned to present Trump with a set of terms Washington should meet before Beijing is ready to settle their trade dispute also tempered optimism.

Financials () rose 0.62% with big lenders leading the charge, ahead of results of the second part of Federal Reserve’s annual stress test for banks.

Semiconductor companies, which have a sizable revenue exposure to China, traded higher, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor index () up 1.15%. The S&P technology sector () was up 0.10%.

Boeing Co (N:) fell 2.3%, pressuring the blue-chip Dow Jones index (), after Reuters reported that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration identified a new flaw in

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