NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks finished a choppy session mostly lower on Wednesday (May 8) as investors tried to suss out the latest back-and-forth in the US-China trade saga.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished essentially flat at 25,967.33, falling late in the session to erase the modest gains posted earlier in the day.
The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 4.63 points (0.16 per cent) to 2,879.42, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 20.44 points (0.26 per cent) to 7,943.32.
After threats of new tariff measures against China the last few days, which caused the major indices to lost around two per cent on Tuesday, investors welcomed more benign statements from the White House.
While steeper tariffs are set to take effect on Friday, US President Donald Trump tweeted that Chinese trade officials are coming to Washington to "make a deal" in a new round of talks starting Thursday.
But China's Commerce Ministry warned of unspecified retaliation should Trump not back down.
"The signs are contradictory but investors aren't too scared," said Gregori Volokhine of Meeschaert Financial Services. "They're positioning not for a failure, but for the situation to drag out longer."
Among individual companies, ride-hailing company Lyft sank 10.8 per cent after reporting that its loss in the past quarter widened to US$1.1 billion in the company's first report as a public company.
Lyft's travails come as investors prepare for an even larger initial public offering this week from rival Uber, which is set to debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.