NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks edged lower on Tuesday ahead of a looming weekend deadline for trade talks between Washington and Beijing.
A new round of U.S. tariffs is scheduled to take effect on Chinese goods Sunday, the latest escalation in a trade dispute that has dragged on economies around the world. But media reports suggested the U.S. may delay the tariffs on phones, laptops and other popular products as the two sides negotiate a limited “Phase 1” deal.
The S&P 500 flipped repeatedly between small gains and losses throughout the day, and the market was nearly evenly split between losers and winners as markets await more certainty about what the rules of global trade will be. Losses for Comcast, Netflix and other communications companies weighed most heavily on the market, but gains for health care and energy stocks helped limit the damage.
The S&P 500 slipped 3.44 points, or 0.1%, to 3,132.52. It earlier swung between a gain of 0.2% and a loss of 0.3%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 27.88, or 0.1%, to 27,881.72, and the Nasdaq composite fell 5.64, or 0.1%, to 8,616.18. The Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks was an outlier and rose 2.10 points, or 0.1%, to 1,631.71.
Sunday’s deadline isn’t the only big potential event for markets in the coming days. The Federal Reserve and European Central Bank will make decisions on interest rate policy this week. Big moves by both of them earlier this year helped send prices for stocks and bonds around the world surging. A report will also arrive Wednesday on inflation in the United States, which is key because tame inflation has allowed the Fed to keep interest rates low.
Investors are nearly unanimous that the Fed will vote Wednesday to keep interest rates steady.
Elsewhere on the trade front, Democrats in the House of Representatives and the White House announced a revised deal with Mexico and Canada. The deal would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement and would offer more provisions for U.S. workers.
Benchmark crude oil rose 22 cents to settle at $59.24 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose 9 cents to $64.34 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $1.65 per gallon. Heating oil climbed 2 cents to $1.97 per gallon. Natural gas rose 3 cents to $2.26 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold rose $3.30 to $1,462.60 per ounce, silver rose 7 cents to $16.60 per ounce and copper rose 1 cent to $2.76 per pound.
The dollar rose to 108.73 Japanese yen from 108.62 yen on Monday. The euro strengthened to $1.1096 from $1.1064.