Dow, S&P 500 dip as markets eye Fed, trade talks

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, March 11, 2019.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, March 11, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished mostly lower on Tuesday (March 19) following conflicting reports on US-China trade talks and as the Federal Reserve began a two-day monetary policy meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 0.1 per cent at 25,887.38.

The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.3 per cent to 2,832.57, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 0.1 per cent to 7,723.95.

Stocks spent much of the day in positive territory but weakened following a Bloomberg report that described tensions between the United States and China on trade terms that could pose problems for a broad agreement.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will return to Beijing next week to resume talks, a senior administration official told AFP on Tuesday.

Nate Thooft, senior managing director at Manulife Investments, said equities were also primed for a pullback after rallying last week ahead of Wednesday's Fed decision.

"People are starting to realise the Fed can't be more dovish than how it has already been," Thooft said.

The US central bank is expected to keep interest rates unchanged and could signal it anticipates fewer interest rate hikes in 2019.

Among individual companies, chip company Advanced Micro Devices surged 11.8 per cent after Alphabet's Google said its new streaming videogame service would employ the company's technology.