Wall Street near flat, Trump gives go ahead on China tariffs

Business

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were flat on Friday after President Donald Trump instructed aides to proceed with tariffs on about $200 billion of Chinese products, while financial shares gained with bond yields.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 7, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

A source familiar with the situation confirmed reports initially carried by both Bloomberg and Fox News on the moves by the White House. They came despite Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s attempts to restart talks with Beijing.

The S&P financial index .SPSY was up 0.6 percent. U.S. Treasury yields rose above 3 percent earlier in the day but were last off those levels.

“There are a lot of headlines that have come out here, people have been pretty active all week, and it’s Friday afternoon. You don’t really want to add additional risk when you don’t know what news might hit over the weekend,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.

At the same time, the rate-sensitive S&P utilities index .SPLRCU was down 0.6 percent.

At 3:23PM ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 2.97 points, or 0.01 percent, to 26,143.02, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.33 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,903.85 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 2.96 points, or 0.04 percent, to 8,010.75.

Also weighing on utilities was NiSource (NI.N), which tumbled 11.2 percent after fire investigators said they suspected a unit of the company, Columbia Gas, was linked to a series of gas explosions in Boston suburbs on Thursday.

Walmart (WMT.N) lost 0.6 percent after Goldman Sachs raised questions around the purchase of a majority stake in India’s Flipkart.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.05-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.39-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 49 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 117 new highs and 58 new lows.

Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Susan Thomas

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