Wall St near flat as trade deal outlook uncertain

US stocks were little changed in late afternoon trading on Thursday amid uncertainty over when a trade deal between the United States and China would be reached.

President Donald Trump said the United States was doing very well in trade talks with China, but could not say whether a final deal would be reached.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had been expected to hold a summit at the President’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida later this month, but no date has been set for a meeting. Bloomberg reported on Thursday that a meeting between the two was more likely to take place in April at the earliest.

Chipmakers, which rely on China for a large portion of their revenue also lost ground with the Philadelphia SE chip index off 0.5 per cent.

“The good news is mildly negative news on China trade doesn’t tip the apple cart over anymore,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

“But breaking out of the next level of resistance has been a wall to get through. It shows we’re probably range-bound 2,750 to 2,800 until we get answers to China trade, Brexit etc.”

In the latest of a series of votes, British lawmakers on Thursday approved by 412 votes to 202 a motion setting out the option to request a short delay if a Brexit deal can be agreed by March 20 — or a longer delay if no deal can be agreed in time.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.58 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 25,701.31, the S&P 500 lost 2.68 points, or 0.10 per cent, to 2,808.24 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 10.06 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 7,633.34.

Boeing, the single largest US exporter to China, slipped 0.8 per cent. The world’s largest

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