Wall Street sinks on trade jitters ahead of Powell speech
By Stephen Culp NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street lost ground on Tuesday as simmering geopolitical and trade concerns, combined with disappointing economic data, kept buyers at bay and investors looked to remarks from U.S. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell expected later in the session. Technology companies led all three major U.S
By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street lost ground on Tuesday as simmering geopolitical and trade concerns, combined with disappointing economic data, kept buyers at bay and investors looked to remarks from U.S. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell expected later in the session.
Technology companies led all three major U.S. stock indexes into the red ahead Powell's speech and the question-and-answer session to follow, which will be scrutinized by market participants for clues as to when and by how much the central bank will cut key interest rates.
"It's not an all-red day but it's pretty much a risk-off day with money moving into defensive names," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.
Despite Tuesday's sell-off, June is shaping up to be a good month for U.S. equities. The benchmark S&P 500 is still hovering within a percent of its all-time high reached last Thursday.
Still, anxieties stemming from the ongoing U.S.-China trade war found no relief in a White House official's remarks that President Trump is "comfortable with any outcome" arising from an expected meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit convening in Japan on Friday.
"The upcoming meeting between Xi and Trump is being anxiously anticipated," Ghriskey added. "Expectations for that meeting are low, even pessimistic."
On the economic front, sales of newly constructed homes and consumer confidence numbers both came in well below economist expectations, according to separate reports from the U.S. Commerce Department and the Conference Board.
Increasing signs of economic softness, especially related to the trade disputes between the United States and its major trading partners, helped prompt the Federal Reserve last week to signal interest rate cuts beginning as early as July.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 39.64 points, or 0.15%, to 26,687.9, the S&P 500 lost 9.33 points, or 0.32%, to 2,936.02 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 48.90 points, or 0.61%, to 7,956.80.
Of the 11 major indexes in the S&P 500, seven were in negative territory, with communications services seeing the biggest percentage drop.
Rate-sensitive bank stocks were down 0.3%, as U.S. benchmark yields fell below the closely watched 2% level.
The healthcare sector edged up 0.2%, boosted by news of a multi-billion dollar deal.
AbbVie Inc said it would buy Allergan Plc for about $63 billion, sending the Botox-maker's shares up by 26.7%. AbbVie's stock dropped 15.2% on the news.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.11-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.15-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 28 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 19 new highs and 64 new lows.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.