Stocks close mixed as the US and China resume deputy-level trade talks

Andy Wong/Pool/Reuters

Stocks finished mixed on Thursday as the US and China kicked-off deputy level trade negotiations for the first time in close to two months.

A Chinese delegation of about 30 officials met with members from the Office of the United States Trade Representative in Washington, D.C. on Thursday morning to establish the groundwork for high-level talks set to take place in October.

The reengagement also comes a few short weeks after both the US and China eased tensions by delaying and alleviating some tariffs.

Traders are keeping a close eye on the talks for any sign that the two countries could come closer to forging a resolution to the year-long trade war.

The Federal Reserve also moved to inject another $US75 billion into capital markets to keep interest rates from moving higher. The instance marks the the third straight day the Fed completed an overnight repurchase agreement, or repo, to keep short-term rates within its target range.

The move also follows the Fed’s decision from Wednesday to cut interest rates for the second time this year.

Here’s a look at the major indexes as of the 4 p.m. close on Thursday:

Shares of US Steel plunged as much as 15% after the company reported a dismal profit forecast. The steel producer said it expects to lose $US0.35 per share in the third quarter, compare to $US0.06 loss expected by analysts. US Steelfollows domestic producers Nucor and Steel Dynamics in issuing profit outlooks below estimates this week.



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Microsoft climbed to a record intraday high after announcing a $US40 billion share buyback program and boosting its dividend by 11% to $US0.51 per share. As of June 30, the company still had $US11.4 billion worth of shares to repurchase on another $US40 billion buyback program from 2016, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Within the S&P 500, these were the largest gainers:

And the largest decliners:

Healthcare and utilities rose more 0.3%, while real estate climbed 0.3%. Those gains were offset by losses in industrials, energy, and financials.

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