Stocks close mixed as critical US-China trade talks resume

U.S. stocks closed mixed Thursday as investors mulled prospects that talks between President Trump and China's vice premier to discuss the two nations' trade disputes would soon lead to a settlement.

The visit by Liu He with Trump at the White House on Thursday afternoon sparked hope that the U.S. government would soon announce a date for a trade-focused meeting between the president and Xi Jinping, China's leader. There is a widespread belief that such a Trump-Xi meeting would be proof that a deal had been reached and only lacked an official announcement.

Boeing stock climbed nearly 3 percent, lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a 2019 high, and the S&P 500 has now closed up for six consecutive trading sessions.

Trade optimism was tempered by global growth concerns after a surprise drop in German industrial orders.

Shares of Tesla plummeted after it reported a big drop in first-quarter vehicle deliveries, which plummeted 31 percent from the previous three-month period and warned that its first-quarter income will "be negatively impacted.

The company placed some of the blame on "pull forward" demand from the first quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2018 and also challenges of beginning to deliver its Model 3 compact car to customers in China and Europe for the first time.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 39069.59 +4.33 +0.01%
SP500 S&P 500 5304.72 +36.88 +0.70%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 16920.794392 +184.76 +1.10%

Applications for new unemployment. benefits fell in the U.S. last week to the lowest level in half a century, the latest sign of a tight labor market.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., decreased by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 202,000 in the week ended March 30, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Besides Tesla, tech company shares paced decliners, weighing on the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite. Shares of retailers posted gains.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TSLA TESLA INC. 179.24 +5.50 +3.17%
MU MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC. 129.49 +3.22 +2.55%
M MACY'S INC. 20.18 +0.12 +0.60%
HOG HARLEY-DAVIDSON INC. 35.21 +0.06 +0.17%

Oil prices fell for the second day, settling at $62.14.

In Asia, the Hang Seng closed downo 0.17 percent, the Shanghai Composite jumped 0.94 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 edged 0.05 percent up.


In Europe equities were mixed: Britain's FTSE100 slipped 0.28 percent, France's CAC 40 declined 0.12 percent and Germany's DAX added 0.34 percent.