US trade representative Robert Lighthizer told a congressional hearing the US and China still need to cover a lot of ground to settle their trade dispute in his first public comments since Trump announced a delay to Chinese import tariffs on Sunday.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told Congress the central bank would stop shrinking its $4 trillion balance sheet this year.
Meanwhile, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen called the president a “conman” but said he had no direct evidence the US president colluded with Moscow to bolster his White House campaign ahead of the 2016 election.
Market participants were also watching escalation in tensions between India and Pakistan, which came as a support for US assets as investors sought alternatives to emerging markets.
Of the 11 major S&P sectors, seven closed lower with the healthcare index 0.5% decline weighing the most.
Shares of Mylan sank 15% after the pharmaceutical company reported that 2019 earnings would be much lower than analysts expected. Stocks of health insurer and pharmacy benefit manager also slipped after the introduction of a bill aimed at moving all Americans into a government health insurance programme on Tuesday.
Best Buy Co Inc jumped 14% after the consumer electronics retailer beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly same-store sales.
Weight Watchers International Inc. shares tumbled 35% after the company reported mixed fourth-quarter results and weak guidance.
Dean Foods Co. shares skidded 14% reported a wider-than-expected loss and suspended its dividend.
Shares of Lowe’s Companies Inc. rose 2.5% as investors shrugged off the home improvement retailer’s quarterly loss.
In Asia, share markets slipped on Thursday in morning trade amid a spate of geopolitical concerns ranging from escalating tensions between India and Pakistan to US-China trade uncertainty.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.44% while the Topix shed 0.43%. In South Korea, the Kospi slipped 0.43%. Australia’s ASX 200 slipped around 0.23% as the sectors mostly declined.
In China, the Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.29%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.10%.