Wall Street pulls back from records as investors take profits


NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street’s major stock indexes slipped from record highs on Monday as investors booked profits from gains made this month after the United States and China reached a trade deal.

FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor at the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 27, 2019. REUTERS/Bryan R Smith/File Photo

The S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq were on track for their biggest one-day percentage declines in more than three weeks.

Monday brought minor updates on the U.S.-China trade agreement. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said the pact was likely to be signed in the next week but confirmation would come from President Donald Trump or U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

A South China Morning Post report earlier said Chinese Vice Premier Liu He would travel to Washington later this week to sign the deal.

The news provided little impetus for U.S. stocks to extend their steep climb, analysts said. Going into Monday, the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX had notched record high closes in nine of the past 11 sessions.

“It’s year-end profit-taking,” said Oliver Pursche, chief market strategist at Bruderman Asset Management in New York. “Investors are taking some risk off the table. That’s all today represents.”

Light trading volume ahead of the New Year holiday on Wednesday likely amplified Monday’s decline, Pursche added.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 163.02 points, or 0.57%, to 28,482.24, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 17.07 points, or 0.53%, to 3,222.95 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 54.44 points, or 0.6%, to 8,952.18.

S&P 500 technology stocks .SPLRCT dropped 0.5% and weighed most heavily on the benchmark index. The sector has soared this year, with a 47.5% annual gain.

It is “not uncommon for the leading sectors to pull back first when people start to sell because if it is an outperformer, then it warrants a lot more downside risk,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas. In a bright spot among U.S. stocks, Nio Inc (NIO.N) shares surged 65.7% after the Tesla rival beat quarterly revenue estimates on higher demand for its electric vehicles.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.39-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, a 1.40-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 17 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 69 new highs and 24 new lows.

Reporting by April Joyner; Additional reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Rosalba O’Brien

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