S&P 500, Nasdaq end choppy session lower

Traders work during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Jan 13, 2020.
Traders work during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Jan 13, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished a choppy session mostly lower on Tuesday (Jan 14) as earnings season opened with mixed banking results ahead of a US-China trade agreement.

Stocks were bruised by an early afternoon Bloomberg News report that said the United States could maintain tariffs on more than US$300 billion (S$400 billion) in Chinese goods past November 2020.

The report came a day before US and Chinese representatives are set to sign a partial trade deal in which the Washington agreed not to impose additional tariffs and to reduce tariffs on about $120 billion of goods.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.1 per cent at 28,939.67.

The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.2 per cent to 3,283.15, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index also shed 0.2 per cent to 9,251.33.

Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq had finished at all-time highs on Monday, the latest records in a run boosted by improved US-China trade relations, central bank easing and solid US economic data.

Some investors have been expecting a pullback following the surge in recent weeks that have left the market in what analysts have called an "overbought" condition.

JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup both advanced more than one percent after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter results on growth in their credit card businesses and much improved results in trading.

But Wells Fargo sank 5.4 per cent as the bank missed earnings expectations and new Chief Executive Charles Scharf suggested a turnaround will take longer than expected.

Delta Air Lines surged 3.3 per cent after reporting better-than-expected fourth-quarter profits on strong consumer demand and lower fuel costs.