Wall Street's Focus Remains On Trade; Market Subdued As Investors Await Developments

Even when the trade winds are generally strong, there can sometimes be lulls.

This morning, the market seems to be awaiting fresh developments on the U.S.-China trade front as negotiators continue meeting in Washington and President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He later in the day. 

Hopes that the two sides can strike a deal to end a months-long trade war that has sparked worries about global economic growth have helped lift markets this year. The main U.S. indices managed to eke out gains on Wednesday, continuing April’s strong run so far.

Optimism about a potential U.S.-China trade deal helped lift shares of chipmakers Wednesday, whose revenue streams are tied to China, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq (COMP) outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($DJI) and the S&P 500 (SPX). The SPX continued ticking toward its all-time closing high of 2,930.75.

Later today, several Fed speakers are scheduled to speak at separate events. A pivot to a more dovish policy has helped send stocks up this year.

In corporate news, Tesla Inc’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) shares were down more than 10% in premarket trading after the automaker disappointed investors by reporting a bigger-than-expected drop in auto sales. The roughly 63,000 deliveries fell short of what analysts had been expecting. 

Office Depot Inc (NASDAQ: ODP) shares were also taking a beating, down more than 15% in pre-market trade, after it warned its Q1 results will likely fall short estimates. 

In U.S. economic news, jobless claims fell to their lowest level since 1969, according to the latest Labor Department numbers. In the seven days ended March 30, jobless claims, which are a rough gauge of layoffs, fell by 10,000 to about 202,000, the third consecutive decline. 

Meanwhile, overseas data showed that Germany’s industrial orders fell in February, extending

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