Wall St falls after Lighthizer's comments on trade talks

By Shreyashi Sanyal and Medha Singh

Feb 27 () - Wall Street's main indexes extended losses on Wednesday after U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer said the country's issues with China were "too serious" to be resolved by promises of more purchases of U.S. goods by Beijing.

Lighthizer, President Donald Trump's top trade negotiator, said in a testimony at a Congressional hearing that any deal between the two countries must include a way to ensure commitments are met and it is too early to predict the outcome of ongoing trade talks.

Markets started on a weaker footing after the second U.S.-North Korean nuclear summit kicked off in Vietnam and on heightened tensions between India and Pakistan.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is expected to repeat the testimony delivered on Tuesday to a Senate panel, in which he stood by the central bank's "patient" stance before raising interest rates again.

The Fed's dovish signals and optimism around China-U.S. trade talks have boosted equities in recent weeks, pushing the benchmark S&P 500 index to within 5.2 percent of its record closing high hit in late September.

"There is a push and pull around the S&P at the 2,800 level. Negative comments from Lighthizer doesn't help and the fact that the whole Street is looking for a pause doesn't help either," Antonelli said.

At 11:26 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 125.06 points, or 0.48 percent, at 25,932.92, the S&P 500 was down 9.06 points, or 0.32 percent, at 2,784.84 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 29.39 points, or 0.39 percent, at 7,519.91.

Of the 11 major S&P sectors, nine were trading lower, with a 0.59 percent fall in technology stocks weighing the most.

Pressuring the sector were declines in shares of Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp.

Shares of Mylan NV sank 12.1 percent and drove a 0.67 percent fall in the healthcare sector after the generic drugmaker missed quarterly profit estimates and forecast weak 2019 earnings.

Best Buy Co Inc jumped 15.8 percent after the consumer electronics retailer beat analysts' estimates for quarterly same-store sales, while announcing a hike in dividend and a plan to buy back shares

The energy sector rose 1 percent on the back of higher oil prices. Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp led gains on the Dow, with a 1 percent rise.

Investors also awaited Commerce Department's advance fourth-quarter gross domestic product report on Thursday, which will include some of the data that would normally go into the second GDP estimate.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.59-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.19-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 10 new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 33 new highs and 20 new lows.

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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