FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2019, file photo specialist Christopher Riggs, left, works with traders Fred DeMarco, center and Philip Powers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EST on Tuesday, Dec. 10. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Stocks open lower on Wall Street ahead of US tariff deadline

December 10, 2019 - 10:13 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks slipped on Wall Street in early trading Tuesday as investors considered reports that the U.S. will delay a new round of tariffs on Chinese goods as the nations continue negotiating a trade deal.

The proposed tariffs scheduled to begin on Sunday threaten to hit U.S. consumers particularly hard by raising the prices of popular products including cellphones and laptops.

Both nations have been working toward a limited “phase 1” deal that Wall Street hopes can lead to an eventual long-term resolution.

Banks broadly fell in the early going, though bond prices remained mostly stable. The yield on the 10-year Treasury was unchanged at 1.83% from late Monday.

Communications companies suffered some of the largest declines. Comcast fell 2% and Netflix fell 1.3%.

Technology companies held up better than the rest of the market. Micron rose 1.9%.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 0.1% as of 9:52 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 54 points, or 0.2%, to 27,852. The Nasdaq was unchanged. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks fell 0.1%.

European markets fell and Asian markets were mixed.

TRADE WOES: It’s been a volatile month so far for trade relations as the U.S. and China stay mostly quiet on their latest push for a deal. China helped ease some of the tension last week when it made the conciliatory gesture of planning to waive tariffs on American soybeans and pork, which have been hurting American farmers.

Wall Street was rattled early last week when President Donald Trump said that a deal could possibly wait until after the 2020 elections. The longstanding trade war has been hanging over U.S. businesses and prompting them to hold back on spending and other investments. It also continues to threaten economic growth, which is being propped up by consumer spending and a strong jobs market.

LATE EARNINGS LIFT: Earnings season is essentially over but several smaller companies are getting a lift from late reports. Vail Resorts rose 3.5% after the ski resort company’s fiscal first-quarter results beat forecasts. Online clothing styling service Stitch Fix surged 9.5% and auto parts retailer AutoZone rose 5.8% after reporting surprisingly good results.

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