U.S. stocks were little changed Wednesday even after China announced it would be suspending additional tariffs on some American imports.
Apple (AAPL) outperformed the three major stock indices and was the best-performer in the Dow shortly after market open. The company unveiled a new line of smartphones, upgrades to its Watch, iPad and AirPods and the pricing and launch dates for its video and gaming subscription services on Tuesday.
Investors also awaited the latest rate decision from the European Central Bank (ECB) set for Thursday, with market participants broadly expecting further monetary policy easing from global central banks. U.S. Treasury yields were mostly higher across the curve ahead of the Federal Reserve’s rate decision next week, with President Donald Trump earlier in the morning calling for the Fed to “get our interest rates down to ZERO.”
Here were the main moves in the market, as of 9:42 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +0.02%, or 0.67 points
Dow (^DJI): +0.10%, or 26 points
Nasdaq (^IXIC): +0.19%, or 15.98 points
10-year Treasury yield (^TNX): +3.1 bps to 1.733%
Gold (GC=F): -0.16% to $1,496.80 per ounce
China’s Finance Ministry said Wednesday it would waive tariffs on 16 U.S. product categories from September 17 through September 16, 2020. The products on the exempt list include certain livestock feed and cancer drugs.
The announcement comes as delegations from the U.S. and China are set to meet for another round of high-level trade talks in October, and after both sides increased tariffs on one another’s goods at the start of September. The U.S. plans to add more tariffs on some Chinese imports on October 1, and both countries will increase some of their respective levies again on December 15.
Meanwhile, shares of Amazon (AMZN) edged down after Bloomberg’s Spencer Soper and Ben Brody reported that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had launched a probe into whether the company was stifling competition on its e-commerce platform. According to the report, investigators for the FTC have begun interviewing small businesses selling products on Amazon and inquiring about their operations with the company versus other marketplaces like Walmart (WMT) and eBay (EBAY).
This adds to a bevy of antitrust and anti-competition investigations launched by state and federal regulators into some of tech’s biggest players business practices.
Earlier this week, attorneys general from 50 states and territories announced an antitrust investigation of Google (GOOG, GOOGL), over the company’s search engine and advertising operations. And Facebook (FB) was earlier reported to have been probed by the FTC over its previous mergers and acquisitions of other social media platforms.
Producer prices unexpectedly increased increased in August
On the economic data front, a new report on U.S. producer price changes in August pointed to at least temporarily stabilizing inflation trends.
Producer prices unexpectedly rose in August when no change had been expected, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.
The headline producer price index (PPI) – a measure of wholesale and business vendor prices – increased a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in August after a 0.2% gain in July. A flat reading had been expected for the month, based on consensus economists polled by Bloomberg. August’s results brought the PPI increase over last year to 1.8%, versus a gain of 1.7% expected.
The advance in PPI was led by a 0.3% increase in services prices, and especially from service prices excluding trade, transportation and warehousing. Goods prices, however, fell 0.5% in August.
Excluding food and energy categories, the PPI rose 0.3% on a monthly basis in August, or faster than the 0.2% pace expected. This marked a rebound from the 0.1% decrease logged in July, which had marked the first decline since early 2017. Over last year, this measure of PPI – which many economists point to as a better gauge of underlying price changes – rose 2.3%, versus a 2.2% gain expected.
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck
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