NEW YORK (Dec 5): US stocks dipped on Thursday as declines in defensive sectors such as consumer staples overshadowed gains in technology stocks, while the absence of new updates in US-China trade talks kept investors on the sidelines.
Wall Street's main indexes opened higher, extending gains from the previous session, but quickly lost steam in the first hour of trading.
"There is no new news on the trade war and it's mostly that," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.
"So unless we get a positive or negative story to push the market one way or the other, we might as well be trading in this range for a while."
Wall Street snapped a three-day losing streak in the previous session as headlines suggested the world's two largest economies were closer to agreeing how many tariffs would be rolled back in a "phase one" trade deal. If no agreement is reached soon, more tariffs on Chinese goods will kick in from Dec 15.
The consumer staples sector shed 0.6% on Thursday, leading declines among the 11 major sectors, while tech stocks rose 0.2%.
Adding to the risk off mood were comments from U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said she had directed a House committee to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 40.79 points, or 0.15%, at 27,608.99, the S&P 500 was down 2.18 points, or 0.07%, at 3,110.58 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 4.83 points, or 0.06%, at 8,561.84.
Investors also shrugged off data that showed US trade deficit dropped to its lowest level in nearly 1-1/2 years in October, while another report suggested the labor market remained in good shape after weekly jobless claims fell.
All eyes will now be on the Labor Department's non-farm payrolls data due Friday.
Nike Inc shares climbed 1% after a report said Goldman Sachs upgraded the sportswear maker's stock to "buy".
Kroger Co dropped 4% as it missed analysts' estimates for quarterly sales and profit.
Sage Therapeutics tumbled 57% after its experimental fast-acting drug aimed at treating severe depression failed a closely watched study.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.10-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.21-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 10 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 41 new highs and 42 new lows.