By Arjun Panchadar
(Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes edged lower on Wednesday as escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing raised doubts about a trade deal, overshadowing upbeat earnings from retailers Target and Lowe's.
China condemned a U.S. Senate measure aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong amid prolonged protests, while U.S. recession fears also crept back, with the gap between two-year and 10-year Treasury yields at its narrowest in three weeks. [US/]
"It (Hong Kong bill) makes it more difficult to do a trade deal," said Tom Martin, portfolio manager at Globalt in Atlanta. "The Congress is doing what they think they should do and eventually Trump has to put this is perspective on how he wants to play it."
Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, with the communications services <.SPLRCL> and technology sectors <.SPLRCT> weighing the most.
The interest-rate sensitive financial index <.SPSY> fell 0.4% after the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield hit a three-week low.
However, the Philadelphia Semiconductor index <.SOX> pared some losses on news that the U.S. government had begun issuing licenses for some companies to supply goods to China's blacklisted telecommunications company Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL].
Expectations of a U.S.-China trade deal, coupled with a fairly strong third-quarter earning season, have helped Wall Street's main indexes scale record highs this month.
Focus now turns to the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's October policy meeting later in the day. The central bank cut interest rates for the third time this year at the meeting, but signalled it may be done with the easing for now.
At 11:42 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> was down 91.15 points, or 0.33%, at 27,842.87, the S&P 500 <.SPX> was down 4.79 points, or 0.15%, at 3,115.39 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> was down 5.31 points, or 0.06%, at 8,565.35.
Among other stocks, apparel retailer Urban Outfitters Inc
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.09-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.41-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 23 new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 69 new highs and 64 new lows.
(Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Anil D'Silva)
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Updated Date: Nov 21, 2019 00:08:06 IST