The Dow fell 54.80 points, or 0.2%, to close at 27,766.29. The S&P 500 slipped 0.2% to 3103.54. The Nasdaq Composite ended the day down 0.2% at 8506.21. Stocks struggled as investors tried to make sense of the latest U.S.-China trade news. Thursday marked the third straight day of losses for the Dow, its longest losing streak since August. The S&P 500 posted its first three-day slide since September.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He reportedly invited U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to China for further negotiations. It is not clear whether Lighthizer and Mnuchin accepted the invitation, but the Wall Street Journal report said the two were willing to meet with their Chinese counterparts. Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post said the two countries were on the "doorstep" of reaching a deal. All of this comes after the House passed two bills intended to support protesters in Hong Kong. If signed, the bill could derail negotiations. Investors will need more clarity around trade before resuming their rally to record highs. Otherwise, a consolidation period — or even a market pullback — could lie ahead for stocks.
Shares of discount brokerages Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade surged 7% and 17%, respectively, after a source told CNBC's Becky Quick that Schwab was in talks to buy its competitor. A deal between the two would create a goliath with more than $5 trillion in client assets.