US STOCKS-Wall St flat, tech boost softens trade war fears

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
US STOCKS-Wall St flat, tech boost softens trade war fears
Credit: © Reuters.

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* China seeks WTO backing to impose sanctions on U.S.

* Trade-sensitive industrials drop; Tech stocks rise

* Hurricane Florence drags insurers; Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) rises

* Nike (NYSE: NKE ) gains on broker upgrade

* Dow down 0.05 pct, S&P 0.06 pct; Nasdaq up 0.07 pct

(Updates to open)

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Sept 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Tuesday, as gains in technology stocks helped the Nasdaq regain footing and curbed losses in the materials and industrials sectors due to fears of an escalation in Sino-U.S. trade spat.

President Donald Trump on Friday threatened duties on $267 billion of goods on top of planned tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese products. China has vowed to respond if the United States took any new steps on trade. has also decided to approach the World Trade Organization next week for permission to slap sanctions on the United States, for Washington's non-compliance with a ruling in a dispute over U.S. dumping duties. pressure point today clearly seems to be about trade more than anything else. China's been playing such a long game and none of that has been good for the markets," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in New York.

"Today feels like the day we were expecting yesterday, but the WTO complaint has been stirring up this escalation, which has reignited our concerns about trade in general."

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were trading lower, with a 0.54 percent drop in the materials sector leading the decliners as metal prices fell on trade war rhetoric. MET/L

However, gains in internet stocks kept the Nasdaq afloat, with Facebook FB.O rising 0.8 percent, Twitter TWTR.N 1.9 percent and Google-parent Alphabet GOOGL.O 0.5 percent.

The trade-sensitive industrials sector .SPLRCI fell 0.31 percent, with shares of Caterpillar CAT.N and Boeing (NYSE: BA ) BA.N falling 0.4 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

Boeing earlier raised its estimate for purchase of new planes by China over the next two decades by 6.2 percent. of chipmakers, which rely on China for a major portion of their revenue, also fell. Intel INTC.O was down 1 percent and Micron MU.O 3.7 percent.

At 10:03 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 13.84 points, or 0.05 percent, at 25,843.23, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 1.76 points, or 0.06 percent, at 2,875.37 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 5.91 points, or 0.07 percent, at 7,930.07.

Also in focus was Hurricane Florence, now a Category 4 storm that is expected to grow stronger before making landfall on Thursday, most likely in southeastern North Carolina near the South Carolina border. fell for the second straight day on the storm warning with Travelers TRV.N down 0.4 percent, Progressive Corp (NYSE: PGR ) PGR.N 0.1 percent and American International Group AIG.N 1.4 percent. However, home improvement chain Home Depot HD.N rose about 0.6 percent.

Nike NKE.N rose 1.2 percent after brokerage Canaccord Genuity upgraded the world's No.1 sportswear maker's shares, citing that the company has regained its footing and is solidly marching back to top form.

Integrated Device Technology IDTI.O jumped 11.3 percent after Japan's Renesas Electronics 6723.T agreed to buy chipmaker in a $6.7 billion deal to deepen its push into semiconductors for self-driving cars. issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.59-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.27-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 15 new 52-week highs and 12 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 56 new highs and 57 new lows.

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