US STOCKS-Trade tensions keep Wall St lower ahead of Fed minutes

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* Qualcomm slumps after judge rules against co's practices

* Lowe's, Nordstrom fall on disappointing FY forecasts

* Indexes off: Dow 0.40%, S&P 0.34%, Nasdaq 0.45% (Updates to early afternoon)

By Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar

May 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks dipped on Wednesday, asreports that Washington could impose restrictions on anotherChinese technology company fanned trade tensions, whileinvestors awaited the release of minutes from the FederalReserve's latest policy meeting.

Fears that tit-for-tat tariffs and other retaliatory actionsby the United States and China will hit global growth have keptinvestors on edge, putting the S&P 500 on track to post itsbiggest monthly decline since the December sell-off.

Media reports on Wednesday said the Trump administration wasconsidering sanctions on video surveillance firm Hikvision, thesecond major Chinese technology company facing U.S. curbs. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N22Y01P

Washington last week added China's telecoms equipment makerHuawei Technologies Co LtdHWT.UL to its trade blacklist, buttemporarily relaxed the curbs, sparking a market rebound onTuesday.

"It doesn't sound like talks are going to restart anytimesoon, so we'll have to wait until the G20 summit in late June,"said Ryan Nauman, market strategist at Informa FinancialIntelligence in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

"It is hard to trade when there is so much uncertainty andconfusion out there."

Also weighing on the markets was Qualcomm Inc'sQCOM.O 12.1% plunge, the biggest decliner on the S&P 500.

A federal judge ruled that the chipmaker illegallysuppressed competition in the market for smartphone chips bythreatening to cut off supplies and extracting excessivelicensing fees. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N22Y2RD

A near 2% fall in Apple Inc, along with chipmakers, draggeddown the S&P technology index .SPLRCT 0.45%.

The Fed is expected to release at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT),minutes from its two-day policy meeting in late April when itheld interest rates steady.

New York Fed President John Williams said at a pressbriefing that there is not currently a strong argument forchanging rates, including as a response to low inflationreadings that may due to temporary factors. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N22Y0PL

The interest rate-sensitive banks .SPXBK were down 0.7ahead of the report.

At 12:55 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 102.38 points, or 0.40%, at 25,774.95. The S&P 500 .SPX was down 9.78 points, or 0.34%, at 2,854.58 and theNasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 34.65 points, or 0.45%, at7,751.07.

Retailers wrapped up the first-quarter earnings season on adownbeat note, with Lowe's Cos IncLOW.N falling 11.7% afterthe home improvement chain cut its full-year profit forecast.Lowe's was the biggest drag on the consumer discretionary sector .SPLRCD , down 0.88%. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N22Y2R4

Nordstrom IncJWN.N declined 9.6% after the departmentstore operator reduced its full-year sales and profit forecasts. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N22X48Z

Retailer Target CorpTGT.N jumped 9.2%, the most among S&P500 companies, after its quarterly same-store sales and profitbeat estimates. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N22Y2V1

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.80-to-1 ratioon the NYSE and a 2.09-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 20 new 52-week highs and eight newlows, while the Nasdaq recorded 37 new highs and 94 new lows. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru;Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila) ((Shreyashi.Sanyal@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 8780 ;Reuters Messaging:Shreyashi.Sanyal.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

This article appears in: Stocks , World Markets , Politics

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