NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks were under pressure on Wednesday (Nov 6) as investors awaited concrete progress on US-China trade talks while petroleum-linked shares fell with oil prices.
Upbeat comments from US and Chinese officials have lifted US indices to records in recent sessions.
But investors remain uneasy over the lack of tangible headway after the two sides announced a preliminary verbal agreement on trade last month and Washington held off on tariff increases.
Wednesday reports that the United States and China might delay a meeting to formalize the agreement rankled investors.
"Given that 80 per cent of the rally since September is based on the improvement in trade, it is natural that investors would be a little nervous each time the meeting gets pushed back," said Gregori Volokhine of Meeschaert Financial Services.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished essentially flat at 27,492.56.
The broad-based S&P 500 edged up 2.16 points (0.07 per cent) at 3,076.78, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 24.05 points (0.29 per cent) at 8,410.63.
Dow members Exxon Mobil and Chevron lost about two per cent and Transocean slumped 4.0 per cent following data which showed a surprisingly large increase in US oil inventories.
HP Inc. surged 6.4 per cent following reports that Xerox is considering acquiring the technology company. Xerox gained 3.6 per cent.