Wall Street falls amid nervousness ahead of trade talks

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks were down slightly in late afternoon trading on Monday as reports on the trade front kept investors cautious ahead of scheduled talks later in the week.

A report that Beijing was increasingly reluctant to agree to a broad trade deal pursued by President Donald Trump weighed on sentiment early.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow helped ease some anxiety, saying it was possible U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators could make progress when they meet in Washington, and said the United States was open to looking at what proposals Beijing brought.

Trade talks between the United States and China are expected to resume Oct. 10. Tariff concessions from the United States and China last month had fueled hopes of a resolution to the prolonged dispute.

“You had a nice bounce-back late last week, and now it’s just waiting to see what the next trend is,” said Alan Lancz, president, Alan B. Lancz & Associates Inc, an investment advisory firm based in Toledo, Ohio.

At 2:52 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average () fell 68.46 points, or 0.26%, to 26,505.26, the S&P 500 () lost 9.91 points, or 0.34%, to 2,942.1 and the Nasdaq Composite () dropped 19.78 points, or 0.25%, to 7,962.69.

Investors will soon turn their focus to third-quarter earnings, which begin next week with U.S. banks reporting, and many hope to see more clarity on the impact of the trade war on corporate America.

Analysts expect the lowest quarterly profit performance since 2016, with S&P 500 earnings seen falling nearly 3% from a year earlier, based on IBES data from Refinitiv.

General Motors Co (N:) eased 0.3% after the UAW rejected the carmaker’s latest offer of a four-year labor contract.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.47-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.24-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 10 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 27 new highs and 78 new lows.

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