The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell on Thursday amid lingering concern over U.S.-China trade negotiations.
The 30-stock index dipped 22.38 points to close at 24,553.24, led by losses in Merck and Pfizer. The S&P 500 eked out a 0.1 percent gain to close at 2,642.33 as chip stocks lifted the technology sector. The Nasdaq Composite outperformed, rising 0.68 percent to 7,073.46.
Intel climbed nearly 4 percent while Lam Research surged 14 percent. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH), which tracks chip stocks, rose 5.8 percent to notch its biggest one-day gain since March 23, 2009. (Intel would later fall 8 percent in after-hours trading following the release of its quarterly earnings).
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said earlier on Thursday that China and the U.S. were not close to striking a trade deal. Ross told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that the U.S. is "miles and miles" from a trade deal with China, adding the two countries have "lots and lots of issues."
His comments come as China and the U.S. try to strike a trade deal before the beginning of March. If they don't, additional U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods will come into effect. The two countries have been engaged in a trade war since last year.