Wall Street dips as whistleblower report adds to investor caution

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© Reuters. Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York© Reuters. Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks slipped on Thursday as the release of a whistleblower report tied to the Democrats’ impeachment move against President Donald Trump kept uncertainty high, while trade comments from China’s top diplomat helped to limit losses.

The S&P 500 briefly turned higher late in the session after China’s state councilor and foreign minister said China was willing to buy more U.S. products. Wang Yi, in response to questions from Reuters, said the Trump administration had shown goodwill by waiving tariffs on many Chinese products.

Earlier in the day, the released whistleblower report alleged that Trump not only abused his office in attempting to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 U.S. election, but that the White House also tried to “lock down” evidence about that conduct. The report is seen as central to the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

The impeachment push has added to recent market volatility.

For the market, “whether it turns into something more comes down to how consumers respond. Without that, it’s likely short- term volatility and not much else,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

Facebook Inc (O:) was among the biggest drags on the S&P 500, dropping 1.5% after a person familiar with the matter told Reuters that the U.S. Justice Department will open an antitrust investigation of the social media company.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average () fell 79.59 points, or 0.3%, to 26,891.12, the S&P 500 () lost 7.25 points, or 0.24%, to 2,977.62 and the Nasdaq Composite () dropped 46.72 points, or 0.58%, to 8,030.66.

Investors also digested a Bloomberg report that the United States is unlikely to extend a waiver allowing American firms to supply China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

The S&P energy sector () was down 1.3%, while defensive sectors, including utilities (), were among the best-performing groups.

Shares of fitness startup Peloton Interactive Inc (O:) fell 11.2% in their market debut.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.27-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.11-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 33 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 29 new highs and 112 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.11 billion shares, compared with the 7.2 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

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