Wall Street has edged lower, as US Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to defer a speech on China policy increased optimism on upcoming trade talks between Washington and Beijing, while tensions between the United States and Iran undercut sentiment.
The S&P 500 briefly hit a record high.
Pence called off a planned China speech that had been cast initially as a sequel to a blistering broadside he delivered in October, a move aimed at averting increasing tensions with Beijing, a White House official said.
The benchmark S&P 500 index hit an intraday record high of 2964.15 on Friday, but then stepped back as the rising tensions between the US and Iran kept investors on edge.
Kurt Brunner, portfolio manager with the Swarthmore Group in Philadelphia, said top for investors next week is US President Donald Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The leaders are expected to restart trade talks at the Group of 20 summit in Japan on June 28-29.
“People will be focusing on what happens at the G20 with Presidents Trump and Xi,” Brunner said.
Any indication of progress from Trump following the meeting would be positive for Wall Street, he said.
Stocks logged a third straight week of gains after posting their worst monthly performance this year in May on fears the prolonged trade war would hit global economic growth.
Trump said on Friday he aborted a military strike on Iran in response to Tehran’s downing of a US drone, but the possibility of a US retaliation pushed crude prices higher and helped lift the energy sector by 0.82 per cent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.13 per cent to end at 26,719.13 points, while the S&P 500 lost 0.13 per cent to 2950.46. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.24 per cent to 8031.71.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq was weighed down by a 2.2 per cent fall in PayPal after the digital payments company said its chief operating officer Bill Ready would step down.
For the week, the S&P 500 climbed 2.2 per cent, the Dow added 2.41 per cent and the Nasdaq rose 3.02 per cent.
During Friday’s session, CarMax rose as much as 3.2 per cent to a record high after the used-vehicles retailer posted quarterly results above analysts’ expectations.
Carnival fell for a second day, down 4.4 per cent, and among the biggest decliners. Several brokerages trimmed their share price targets after the cruise operator cut its 2019 profit forecast.
Reflecting “quadruple witching”, as investors unwind interests in futures and options contracts prior to expiration, volume on US exchanges hit 8.6 billion shares, compared with the seven billion-share average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.63-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.63-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 48 new 52-week highs and two new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 64 new highs and 65 new lows.