Investing.com – Wall Street fell on Thursday as disappointing economic data outweighed news of progress in resolving the trade war between the U.S. and China.
The latest batch of data suggest the economy may be starting to slow, increasing the case for the Federal Reserve to continue pausing rate increases. New orders for durable goods, excluding volatile items, fell unexpectedly in December, while business activity in the mid-Atlantic region declined to its weakest level since May 2016, according to the Philadelphia Fed's monthly survey.
The S&P 500 fell 6 points or 0.22% as of 9:33 AM ET (14:33 GMT), while the Dow lost 21 points, or 0.08%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite decreased 8 points, or 0.11%.
"The numbers on Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing and durable goods are volatile, indicating that the economy is slowing," said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.
"Overall, it is showing that the economy is not as strong as it was in the summer of 2018."
Meanwhile, the U.S. and China appear to be moving closer to ending their trade war, increasing the chance that the two sides can make a deal before a tariff increase on Chinese goods on March 1 comes into force.
The two largest economies in the world have made the most significant progress to date, outlining commitments in areas such as intellectual property rights, services, currency and agriculture barriers to trade, Reuters reported.
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) was down after the morning bell, falling 0.7%, while Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) dipped 0.3% and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) slipped 0.4%. Nike (NYSE:NKE) decreased 1% after Duke basketball player Zion Williamson was injured when his Nike shoe split during a game.
Elsewhere, Norwegian Cruise gained 3% after its earnings beat forecasts, while AMD increased 0.5% and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) was up 0.3%.
-Reuters contributed to this story.