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Stocks Slip on Trade Uncertainties     11/11 16:08

   Stocks Slip on Trade Uncertainties

   U.S. stocks mostly fell on Monday as uncertainty continues to hang over 
U.S.-China trade talks, or at least over investors' perception of them.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks mostly fell on Monday as uncertainty continues 
to hang over U.S.-China trade talks, or at least over investors' perception of 
them.

   The stock market has been rallying for five weeks in part on optimism that 
the United States and China are nearing a stopgap deal to calm their dispute. 
But President Donald Trump said over the weekend that reports about U.S. 
willingness to lift tariffs were "incorrect," only two days after a Chinese 
official said both sides agreed to rollbacks if talks progress.

   Stocks dropped as soon as trading began Monday, and the S&P 500 lost as much 
as 0.6% from its record level, though indexes pared their losses as the day 
progressed.

   By the end of trading, the S&P 500 was down 6.07 points, or 0.2%, at 
3,087.01. The Nasdaq composite slipped 11.04, or 0.1%, to 8,464.28.

   The Dow Jones Industrial Average was an outlier and eked out another record, 
in large part because of a big gain for Boeing. It added 10.25 points, or less 
than 0.1%, to 27,691.49.

   A still-strong job market, interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve and 
better-than-expected corporate earnings in the summer have all contributed to a 
nearly 9% leap for the S&P 500 since late August. The market's focus, though, 
has lately seemed to revolve only around the state of U.S.-China trade 
negotiations.

   Stocks in the financial and energy industries have been generally rising 
since Trump said last month that the U.S. and China were negotiating "Phase 
One" of a trade deal. But these so-called "cyclical" stocks, whose profits are 
closely tied to the economic cycle, were among Monday's losers. Such sudden 
snaps in movement are frustrating for investors who prefer looking at the 
longer term.

   "The market is myopically focused on the next minute," said Michael Liss, 
senior portfolio manager at American Century Investments.

   "If I own Chevron or Total, which I do, and we don't get a 'Phase One' 
signing before the end of the year, I'm not going to sell those stocks," he 
said. "I just don't think that over a three- or five-year time frame, oil 
demand is going to be dented because of that" even if it "flies in the face of 
everyone selling cyclicals because we don't have a trade deal."

   The next hints on progress in negotiations with China may come Tuesday, when 
Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech on trade and economic policy at the 
Economic Club of New York.

   Monday's best-performing stocks were real-estate investment trusts, which 
rose 0.2% for the biggest gain among the 11 sectors that make up the S&P 500. 
The group pays relatively big dividends, and investors have flocked to them and 
away from "cyclical" stocks when worries are high that the trade war will hurt 
the economy.

   Boeing soared 4.5% after it said it hopes to resume deliveries of its 737 
Max jet next month.

   On the losing end were energy stocks, which had some of the market's 
sharpest losses as the price of oil weakened. Cabot Oil & Gas dropped 3.4%, 
Occidental Petroleum lost 3% and Marathon Oil fell 3%.

   Bond markets were closed in observance of Veterans Day. 


   Low interest rates have been a big driver for the stock market's rally, and 
the market's spotlight on Wednesday will shine on Capitol Hill where Fed 
Chairman Jerome Powell will give testimony about the economy. Most investors 
expect the Fed to keep interest rates on hold for now after cutting them three 
times since the summer.

   Later this week, the Labor Department will also give updates on inflation at 
both the consumer and wholesale levels. On Friday, economists expect a 
government report to show that retail sales returned to growth in October. That 
would bolster expectations that the economy can keep driving higher as strong 
consumer spending makes up for manufacturing declines caused by the trade war.

   Earnings season is close to complete, and nearly 90% of the companies in the 
S&P 500 have reported their profits for the July-through-September quarter, 
according to FactSet. Results have been weak due in part to the slowing global 
economy, with earnings per share down 2.4% from a year earlier, but they 
haven't been as bad as Wall Street had forecast.

   Asian stock markets fell. Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 2.6% as tensions 
intensified between police and political protesters. China's Shanghai Composite 
index declined 1.8%, Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.3% and South Korea's Kospi 
dropped 0.6%.

   European markets were mixed. Britain's FTSE 100 index slipped 0.4%, France's 
CAC 40 added 0.1% and Germany's DAX lost 0.2%.

   Benchmark crude oil fell 38 cents to settle at $56.86 a barrel. Brent crude 
oil, the international standard, fell 33 cents to $62.18 a barrel. Wholesale 
gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.61 per gallon. Heating oil declined 1 cent to $1.91 
per gallon. Natural gas fell 15 cents to $2.64 per 1,000 cubic feet.

   Gold fell $5.80 to $1,455.50 per ounce, silver fell 2 cents to $16.76 per 
ounce and copper fell 2 cents to $2.66 per pound.

   The dollar fell to 109.04 Japanese yen from 109.15 yen on Friday. The euro 
strengthened to $1.1034 from $1.1024. 


(AG)

 
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