Wall Street took mixed directions on Wednesday as the S&P 500 wobbled between gains and losses while the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced for a second day as trade-sensitive components were propped up by possible U.S.-China trade discussions.
The Nasdaq Composite stayed weaker though as chipmakers fell and investors digested Apple's ( AAPL ) closely-watched product launch event featuring new iPhones and an updated smartwatch. But the stock was still in the red, declining 1.2% by the close.
The S&P's sectors saw a strong day for telecoms, up 1.4%, and consumer discretionary, rising 1.3% as the leaders among eight of the 111 industry groups that advanced, keeping the overall measure slightly higher.
The information technology sector was down 0.5% by the close on the S&P 500, with semiconductors among the top decliners on the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Micron ( MU ) dropped 4.3% after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to neutral from buy with a $50 price target. Maxim Integrated Products ( MXIM ) shed 4.1% after Stifel cut its rating to hold from buy.
Still, the blue-chips on the Dow got a boost during the session from reports that US officials are reaching out to China for new trade talks. That's as a coalition of businesses called Americans for Free Trade step up pressure on the Trump administration against tariffs. And Reuters said Canada and US officials are due to meet Thursday over trade talks between the two nations although a lot of work remains before a deal can be reached.
The easing trade worries helped Boeing ( BA ) rise 2.4% to lead the gainers on the Dow, while Caterpillar ( CAT ) added 1.6%. 3M (MMM) fell 2.4% after CFO Nick Gangestad warned investors inflationary pressures would dent earnings more than expected this year.
The day's economic data showed an unexpected decrease in producer-price inflation, with the measure contracting 0.1% in August, the first slide in 18 months. Later in the day the Federal Reserve's Beige Book showed the economy expanded at a "moderate" pace from early July through the end of August but most districts noted concern and uncertainty about trade tensions.
Here's where the markets stood by the close:
Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 27.86 points (+0.11%)
S&P 500 was up 1.03 points (+0.04%)
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 18.25 points (-0.23%)
FTSE 100 was up 0.55%
Nikkei 225 was down 0.27%
Hang Seng Index was down 0.29%
Shanghai China Composite Index was down 0.33%
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