Wall Street Subdued as Economic, Trade Doubts Persist


Global economic worries on Thursday caused Wall Street to retreat from record highs following sour economic data from major economies and signs of persistent deadlock in U.S.-China trade talks.

China's Commerce Ministry reiterated its position that tariff concessions from Washington should be part of a phase one deal to resolve the trade conflict, suggesting a resolution to the US-China trade war was slipping out of reach yet again.

About 15 minutes into the trading day, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.1 percent at 27,762.21, lifted by global retailer Walmart, which posted surging quarterly profits thanks to online sales and revenues from Indian retailer Flipkart.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 was flat at 3,093.35 and the Nasdaq was 0.3 percent lower at 8,459.39.

Shares in Walmart were up more than 2.3 percent, marking the best gains since August.

President Donald Trump hailed the Walmart results, saying the proved his trade wars were not damaging the U.S. retail sector.

"No impact from Tariffs (which are contributing $Billions to our Treasury)," he wrote on Twitter.

However, Walmart executives said they are watching the tariff discussions and hoping for a prompt resolution to the dispute.

Networking and telecoms firm Cisco plunged seven percent a day after cutting earnings guidance for its upcoming fiscal quarter.

"There is no dash for the exit in spite of reported stumbling blocks over China citing the rollback of some existing tariffs as a precondition for doing a deal and the US reportedly not being on board with that precondition," analyst Patrick O'Hare wrote at Briefing.com.

Economic data released Thursday showed further signs of strain in China's economy, with a sharp slowdown in consumer spending and factory production, while investment growth hit a record low as the trade war with the United States takes its toll.

Germany's economy narrowly avoided recession as it eked out 0.1 percent quarter-on-quarter growth, beating forecasts of a 0.1 percent contraction but confirming the trade-dependent nation's struggles.

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