Closing Update: Wall Street Pares Losses on Tariff Exemption Talk

Dice with pencil on graph paper

Wall Street was mixed on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 staging a recovery attempt after a day of losses while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed weaker for the first time in three sessions. Tech stock strength handed the Nasdaq Composite its fourth consecutive advance.

While markets were jolted by news of the departure of Gary Cohn, a top economic adviser to President Donald Trump, the measures were off the day's lows heading into the close after the White House signaled that it might exempt Canada and Mexico from the steel and aluminum tariffs that Trump is expected to sign this week.

"There are potential carve-outs for Mexico and Canada based on national security and possibly other countries as well based on that process," Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters in Washington, D.C.

On the S&P, the sectors were mixed, with consumer staples and discretionary among the top decliners, while health care and information technology had the strongest gains.

The energy group slid 0.8% as oil prices weakened. Exxon Mobil ( XOM ) lost 2.5% in the steepest slide on the Dow, even as it outlined an "aggressive" growth strategy to more than double earnings and cash flow from operations by 2025 at current prices.

While Washington, D.C. news once again overshadowed the day's economic data, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book showed that price increases were noted in all districts, and BMO said it clears the path for a rate hike next month. Also in economic news, the ADP private payrolls surged more than expected for February, although Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, said in the report that the US labor market "is red hot and threatens to overheat."

Thursday's calendar has Challenger job cuts and the initial weekly jobless claims, while Friday offers the key nonfarm payrolls report.

Here's where the markets stood by the close:


Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 82.76 points (-0.33%)

S&P 500 was down 1.32 points (-0.05%)

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 24.64 points (+0.33%)


FTSE 100 was up 0.16%

Nikkei 225 was down 0.77%

Hang Seng Index was down 1.03%

Shanghai China Composite Index was down 0.55%


(+) PIXY (+66.15%) Leveraging blockchain as a digital ledger for capital transactions

(+) MED (+30.88%) Q4 results beat Wall Street's expectations

(+) RGNX (+26.9%) Reported strong Q4 results

(+) ADSK (+14.87%) Q4 earnings beat expectations

(+) CRSP (+5.23%) Barclays boosts price target to $59 from $29

(+) FRPH (+1.45%) Revenue jumps 31% year-on-year


(-) WHLR (-17.91%) Q4 results disappointed

(-) SPPI (-14.56%) Posted larger-than-expected Q4 loss, below consensus revenue

(-) DLTR (-14.48%) Reported downbeat Q4 results and issued disappointing guidance

(-) BAS (-6.52%) Pulls sale of $300 million of secured notes

(-) ROST (-6.35%) Guides for Q1 earnings in line to below Street views

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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