On Wall Street, a late-afternoon reversal added to the market's losses following a steep sell-off a day earlier as investors worry that the costly trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies will escalate.
Financial markets turned volatile this week after President Donald Trump threatened to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods, a threat that is set to become reality early Friday. Negotiations between the U.S. and China are scheduled to continue in Washington on Thursday, and will include China's top trade official.
The S&P 500 index fell 0.2% to 2,879.42. The benchmark index had been up 0.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.1% to 25,967.33. The Nasdaq composite dropped 0.3% to 7,943.32 and the Russell 2000 index of small company stocks slid 0.5% to 1,574.97.
"The pressure looks to continue amid the trade concerns found within the market with heightened volatility a new normal this week," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist with IG in Singapore. The U.S. and China have raised tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of each other's goods in their dispute over U.S. complaints about China's technology ambitions and practices.
Investors have been anticipating a deal throughout this year, which contributed to double-digit gains in all the major indexes. But the latest tough talk is raising anxiety on Wall Street and casting more doubt about a resolution.
The U.S. government has filed plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10% to 25% Friday. China has said it will retailiate. The Trump administration also has threatened to extend 25% tariffs to another $325 billion in Chinese imports, covering everything China ships to the United States.
China has said it will retaliate. Such moves would mark a sharp escalation in the yearlong trade dispute that has raised prices on goods for consumers and companies. The possibility that the trade dispute could escalate represents a marked shift from just a few weeks ago, when talks between the U.S. and China appeared to be on track for an agreement.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 38 cents to $61.74 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 72 cents to $62.12 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 49 cents to $69.88.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 109.90 yen from 110.09 yen. The euro rose to $1.1200 from $1.1193.
Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama
On Instagram https://www.instagram.com/yurikageyama/?hl=en