Wall Street flat as trade tensions mute earnings optimism


The S&P index recorded 20 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 44 new highs and 24 new lows.

"Investors are more comfortable with FAANG stocks and technology as far as valuations go, and these stocks have higher margins", Tom White, chief market strategist at TradeWise Advisors, in Chicago, Illinois, told Reuters.

The Dow is up 46.65 points, or 0.2 per cent.

The Nasdaq inched toward a record on the back of high-flying technology trio of Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, while gains in the Dow and the S&P 500 were limited as energy shares fell.

Stocks traded little changed on Thursday as the S&P 500 was within striking distance of reaching an all-time high.

The Canadian dollar averaged 76.26 cents USA, down 0.43 of a U.S. cent.

Leading sector declines was the S&P energy index, which fell 0.9 per cent. Occidental Petroleum fell 4.2 per cent after it maintained a tepid production forecast for the year.

The Nasdaq is up 988.39 points, or 14.3 per cent.

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The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, a Labor Department report showed.

This earnings season has been stronger than analysts had expected. The loonie slipped despite somewhat positive jobs numbers from Statistics Canada as global investors propped up the US dollar.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday was down 45.16 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 25,583.75.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX fell 90.47 points, or 0.55 per cent, to 16,326.51, led lower by the health care, consumer staples and utilities sectors.

The biggest drag on the S&P 500 was Booking Holdings (BKNG.O), which fell 5 percent after it forecast third-quarter profit below expectations.

"We have been in a tug of war between broadly positive economic conditions and the uncertainty of trade risk", said Bill Northey, senior vice president at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Helena, Montana.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.12-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.47-to-1 ratio favored decliners.