U.S. stocks closed modestly lower Thursday, with the S&P 500 and the Dow marking their third straight losses, after investors digested mixed headlines on the progress of trade negotiations, with reports indicating that China had invited American negotiators to Beijing for face-to-face talks, even though the U.S. Congress passed a bill supporting protesters in Hong Kong late Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 55 points, or 0.2%, at 27,765, the S&P 500 index shed 5 points, or 0.2%, to 3,103, while the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 21 points, or 0.2%, to reach 8,506, marking its second straight loss.
The third straight drop for the Dow marked its longest string of declines since Aug. 5, while it was the longest such stretch of declines for the S&P 500 since Sept. 24. However, declines have been mostly mild and the benchmarks remain within striking distance of all-time highs.
Investors focused on reports by CNBC of a purchase of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. of larger discount-brokerage rival Charles Schwab, creating a behemoth with $5 trillion in assets.
In economic reports, the U.S. Conference Board's index of leading indicators fell for a third straight month, adding more evidence of slowing economy. Weekly jobless claims, meanwhile, were little changed at 227,000, reflecting an employment market that remains healthy.
Source : Market Watch