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Investors await Trump-Xi meeting; stocks wobble as G20 summit continues


Investors await Trump-Xi meeting; stocks wobble as G20 summit continues
(Image Credit: Pixabay)

Stocks are wobbling ahead of the highly-anticipating trade meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China.

Investors have long hoped the two will use their meeting at the Group of 20 summit to start resolving the trade dispute between the two countries.

Energy companies sank as crude oil dropped under USD 50 a barrel for the first time since September 2017.

The S&P 500 index added 2 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 2,740 at 10 am Eastern time.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 20 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 25,318. The Nasdaq composite gained 4 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7,277.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks edged up 1 point, or 0.1 per cent, to 1,526.

Stocks have rallied this week after falling to a six-month low last Friday.

The S&P 500 is up 1 per cent this month, but it's still 6.5 per cent away from the all-time high it set in late September. While the US and China have been sparring for months over technology policy and other trade issues, in the last two months investors have become more pessimistic that the two sides will be able to resolve their differences without causing damage to the global economy.

The US has announced tariffs on USD 250 billion in Chinese imports so far, with the tax rate on many products set to rise January 1, while China is taxing USD 110 billion in US goods.

Wall Street is concerned that the lingering questions about tariffs and other trade issues will keep businesses from spending money.

Marriott said the information of as many as 500 million guests at Starwood hotels has been compromised by a data breach that started in 2014 and September 2018.

The company said the credit card information of some guests may have been taken, along with other personal details.

The company's stock lost 5.8 per cent to USD 114.80.

Benchmark US crude fell sank 3 per cent to USD 49.92 a barrel in New York, which put crude on track to fall for the eighth week in a row.

Brent crude fell 2.5 per cent to USD 58.40 a barrel in London.

Oil prices have plunged as supplies have built up, partly because the US agreed to hold off on sanctions for countries that import oil from Iran.

Investors are also worried that a slowdown in global economic growth will reduce demand for fuels.

Oil and gas drilling services company Schlumberger lost 2.5 per cent to USD 44.78 and Chevron fell 0.9 per cent to USD 117.78 while ConocoPhillips lost 1.6 per cent to USD 65.82.

Medical lab company LabCorp skidded 10.6 per cent to USD 144.58 after cutting its profit and sales forecasts.

On Thursday LabCorp fell 2 per cent and rival Quest Diagnostics dropped 9.3 per cent after Quest did the same, saying testing volumes were down.

Quest fell 1.8 per cent to USD 86.37 Friday.

(With inputs from agencies.)


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