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Stocks: S&P Sneaks a Gain After Hitting New Highs on China Trade Worries

Investing.com – Stocks finished at new closing highs Monday and hit intraday highs in the process. The gains were modest, however, because of unease about whether a U.S.-China trade deal really will get done.

The S&P 500 hit a new high of 3,124.17 before falling back to a 1.6-point gain, or 0.05%, to 3,122.03. The index was held back by slumping energy stocks.

The Dow was up 0.11% after peaking at 28,040.97 in the morning. The Nasdaq and Nasdaq 100 were up 0.11% and 0.16%, respectively. Both hit new highs earlier in the session.

In addition to the China concerns, the market was held back by declining energy stocks after oil prices fell. Also declining: industrial and pharmaceutical stocks.

Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) and Nike (NYSE:NKE) were among the Dow leaders. Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX, Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) were the weakest Dow stocks.

The U.S.-China negotiations appeared to be stalled, despite Trump Administration assurances last week that negotiations were progressing. Reports from Bloomberg News and CNBC over the weekend and Monday morning painted more complicated pictures of the status of the talks, with intense disputes in the Administration and Chinese pessimism a deal can be done.

The Administration did agree to a new 90-day extension that lets U.S. companies continue doing business with China's Huawei Technologies Co. as U.S. regulators continue crafting rules on telecommunications firms that pose national security risks. Chip stocks were initially higher on the new but fell back.

President Donald Trump and Treasury Steve Mnuchin met Monday with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who repeated the reasons why the Fed has decided to put interest-rate cuts hold. Trump later pronounced the meeting cordial. Interest rates moved lower, with the 10-Year Treasury yield falling to 1.815% from 1.834% on Friday.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) and O’Reilly Automotive (NASDAQ:ORLY) were among stocks hitting new highs Monday.

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