Mid-Day Update: Trade Headlines Rattle Wall Street

Evaluating market performance charts

Stocks were trading off their lows of the day but remained defensive as remarks concerning US/China trade from US trade representative Robert Lighthizer coupled with simmering geopolitical tensions in south Asia pushed the major indices lower for a second day. Led by losses in UnitedHealth ( UNH ) and DowDuPont ( DWDP ), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was lower by 80 points and lagging its peers.

Challenges were coming from several fronts Wednesday as Wall Street braced for Lighthizer's testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen's appearance before the House Oversight Committee, and the second half of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's Humphrey Hawkins testimony to Congress.

Although Powell and Cohen avoided any damaging tape bombs, Lighthizer rattled Wall Street when he said that while there has been progress made toward a trade deal with China, it's still "too early to tell" if a deal will happen.

The knee-jerk reaction to sell amplified the bearish price action that resulted from a swelling US trade deficit in goods, and as core factory orders suffered their worst consecutive decline in three years.

Pending home sales surged 4.6% in January, but were down year-over-year for a 13th straight month.

European markets were also defensive as heightened tensions between India and Pakistan raised geopolitical pressures. Despite a rally in component stock Bayer, Germany's DAX underperformed its European peers.

Crude oil was up $1.77 to $57.27 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.01 to $2.78 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $6.40 to $1.322.10 an ounce, while silver was down $0.16 to $15.77 an ounce. Copper was up $0.01 to $2.96 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 2.84% to $11.96 with the United States Natural Gas Fund up 0.45% to $24.56. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 1.69% to 22.35 while SPDR Gold Shares was down 0.72% to $124.68. The iShares Silver Trust was down 1.27% to $14.75.

Here's where the markets stood at midday:


NYSE Composite Index was up 1.03 points (+0.01%) to 12,687.14

Dow Jones Industrial Index was down 86.90 points (-0.33%) to 25,971.08

S&P 500 was down 6.11 points (-0.22%) to 2,787.79

Nasdaq Composite Index was down 12.67 points (-0.17%) to 7,536.63


FTSE 100 was down 43.92 points (-0.61%) to 7,107.20

DAX was down 53.46 points (-0.46%) to 11,487.33

CAC 40 was down 13.33 points (-0.26%) to 5,225.35

Nikkei 225 was up 107.12 points +0.50%) to 21,556.51

Hang Seng Index was down 14.62 points (-0.05%) to 28,757.44

Shanghai China Composite Index was up 12.31 points (+0.42%) to 2,953.82


NYSE Energy Sector Index was up 66.11 points (+0.62%) to 10,672.17

NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 4.34 points (+0.07%) to 7,771.99

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was down 68.12 points (-0.42%) to 15,976.52


(+) OCN (+13.68%) Q4 loss narrows, revenue beats expectations

(+) CHK (+12.31%) Reported better-than-expected Q4 EPS

(+) BIOC (+4.81%) Collaborates with Providence Saint John's Health Center to evaluate cerebrospinal fluid to test for cancer


(-) SGYP (-64.56%) To sell certain assets to Bausch Health

(-) WTW (-33.11%) Q4 results disappointed

(-) ELF (-22.69%) Missed revenue expectations, set disappointing guidance, announced store closures

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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