NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks finished modestly lower on Tuesday (Apr 11) as worries about Syria and the upcoming French presidential election weighed on investor sentiment.
Geopolitical concerns were front and centre as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson flew to Moscow on Tuesday to confront the Kremlin about its support for the Syrian government, amid US statements that Russia tried to cover up a chemical attack.
At the same time, investors were eyeing the tight presidential race in France, which holds implications for the future of the eurozone, analysts said.
Offsetting these worries was "a lot of cash on the sidelines hoping to get in," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 6.72 points lower (0.03 per cent) at 20,651.30.
The broad-based S&P 500 shed 3.38 points (0.14 per cent) to close at 2,353.78, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined 14.15 points (0.24 per cent) to end at 5,866.77.
United Continental dropped 1.2 per cent as chief executive Oscar Munoz apologised for the airline's forcible removal of a bloodied passenger from an overbooked flight.
The more lengthy statement of regret followed a shorter Munoz comment on the incident on Monday, which did little to stem the intense public outrage and ridicule of the airline after a video showing the encounter went viral.
Qualcomm lost 2.1 per cent as it filed a countersuit against Apple claiming the iPhone breached its agreements and encouraged worldwide regulatory attacks on the US computer chip maker.
Apple argued in an earlier complaint that Qualcomm abused its market power to demand unfair royalties. Apple fell 1.2 per cent.
Other technology shares to fall included Facebook which lost 0.8 percent, and Tesla Motors which declined 1.3 per cent.