U.S. stocks close mixed amid trade tensions

U.S. stocks close mixed amid trade tensions

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 222 points, or 0.9%, at 25,286, the S&P 500 index fell 0.7% at 2,833, while the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.8% at 7,831.

"There is low volatility in the markets as the S&P and Nasdaq are just below all-time record highs, and it seems like markets are complacent right now", said Tom White, chief market strategist at TradeWise Advisors, in Chicago, Illinois.

Energy weighs on the S&P 500 on Thursday.

The dollar rose against most major currencies as investors bet global trade tensions and a robust USA economy would continue to support the currency.

The TSX's energy group rose 0.22 points, or 0.11 per cent, while the financials sector slipped 1.81 points, or 0.59 per cent. The S&P 500 erased 0.075 point, or 0.03 per cent, to 2,857.70, Xinhua news agency reported.

All the 11 major S&P sectors were trading in the red.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, a Labor Department report showed.

"We have been in a tug of war between broadly positive economic conditions and the uncertainty of trade risk", said Bill Northey, senior vice president at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Helena, Montana.

Brazen Taliban attack raises pressure on Afghan forces
Police special forces have also been deployed to help block the Taliban advance, an Afghan security official said. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed parts of the city had been seized and scores of people killed.

Citigroup, the most global of the major USA banks, fell 2.3 percent.

Markets in Europe were also turbulent with Germany's DAX falling two percent, French CAC 40 falling nearly two percent, and Britain's FTSE 100 declining 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, tech giant Intel lost 2.6 per cent after its shares were downgraded to "sell" due to what Goldman Sachs called "manufacturing issues".

The S&P 500 was in slightly positive territory most of the day, putting it once again close to the record high it hit January 26.

The Russell 2000 is up 151.29 points, or 9.9 percent.

Chip stocks fell after Morgan Stanley downgraded the US semiconductor industry.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.80-to-1 ratio on the NYSE.

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