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Stocks - S&P Ends off Lows as Dovish Fed Minutes Ease U.S.-China Trade Jitters

Investing.com - U.S. stocks closed down but finished off their lows Wednesday as renewed trade jitters were offset by dovish minutes from the Federal Reserve.

The S&P 500 lost 0.28%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.39%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.45%.

Federal Reserve policymakers said their patient approach to monetary policy action could continue for "some time," even if the global economy improves, according to minutes of the Fed’s last meeting released today. That helped offset renewed trade jitters amid reports that Washington is set to impose restrictions on other major Chinese tech companies.

Chip stocks led the declines in the broader tech sector on reports the White House is considering banning as many as five Chinese companies, including video surveillance equipment Hikvision, as part of a move to curb Beijing's access to U.S. intellectual property, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) fell more than 10%, as it was also hit with an adverse antitrust ruling. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) and Micron (NASDAQ:MU) also closed in the red as the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index fell more than 1%.

The move comes a day after the U.S. Commerce Department granted a 90-day license for U.S. mobile phone companies and internet broadband providers to work with Huawei to keep existing networks online and protect users from security risks.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin underscored the fraught U.S.-China relations, confirming in a CNBC interview that the U.S. has no plans to go to Beijing to resume trade negotiations.

China had invited the U.S. trade team to Beijing in bid to iron out difference on trade after the nations had failed to reach a consensus on trade in Washington earlier this month.

On the earnings front, Lowe’s slumped following the mixed first-quarter earnings as it missed expectations from Investing.com on the bottom line. Shares of Nordstrom also suffered a drumming after it missed first-quarter earnings. But Target (NYSE:TGT) ended higher as the retailer delivered a beat on the top and bottom lines.

Falling energy stocks also slumped, dragging the broader market lower, on the back of a slump in oil prices following an unexpected build in weekly U.S. crude supplies.

Top S&P 500 Gainers and Losers Today:

Target (NYSE:TGT), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:REGN) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) were among the top S&P 500 gainers for the session.

Lowe’s Companies (NYSE:LOW), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) were among the worst S&P 500 performers of the session.

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