The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite closed lower for the first time in four sessions on Thursday after the release of weak U.S. home sales data while Wall Street digested the latest news on the U.S.-China trade front.
Declines in the communications services group, led by Facebook, pushed the S&P 500 down 0.1 percent to 2,808.48. Facebook shares also weighed on the Nasdaq, which closed down 0.2 percent at 7,630.91. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, meanwhile, eked out a 7.05-point gain to close at 25,709.94.
Facebook shares slid 1.9 percent after a worldwide outage of its core app, Instagram and WhatsApp. The social media company's stock was also under pressure after The New York Times reported federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals the company made with other tech giants.
New home sales fell 6.9 percent in January — which was more than expected and a sign the U.S. government shutdown could have kept buyers on the sidelines.
Investors also grappled with ongoing trade negotiations between China and the U.S. CNBC learned through three sources briefed on the matter that China wants to link a formal state visit to the U.S. to a trade-deal announcement. The sources said China wants a deal to be fully ironed out before Chinese President Xi Jinping sat down with President Donald Trump. They also said, however, Trump prefers to close the deal himself with Xi in person.
Bloomberg News reported earlier in the day that China and the U.S. are trying to push back a meeting between the countries' two leaders from late March to April at the earliest. This comes after Trump said he was in no rush to form an agreement. Bloomberg's report comes after China's industrial output expanded at its slowest rate in 17 years.
Investors expected the two leaders to meet at Mar-a-Lago later this month as both sides claimed progress was being made on trade negotiations.