Investing.com - Stocks started 2019 on uncertain footing Wednesday, with the broader market closing little changed in choppy trading.
The S&P 500 rose 0.13% and the Dow edged up 0.08%. The Nasdaq Composite was the highlight, gaining 0.46%.
"We had a lousy quarter and the negative returns for the year," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management. "However, we could see a more friendly Fed than what we had last year and we could see some movement on the trade talks."
The day started on a weak note after news that China’s Purchasing Manager Index (PMI) contracted for the first time in 19 months in December.
Among active stocks, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) plunged nearly 7%. The electric automaker delivered fewer-than-expected Model 3 sedans in the fourth quarter and cut U.S. vehicle prices.
Meanwhile, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) was about flat after volatile trading. SunTrust Robinson Humphrey said the streaming giant added fewer subscribers than expected last quarter and lowered its price target to $355 a share from $410 a share. But the company also confirmed it is hiring Activision Blizzard's (NASDAQ:ATVI) former chief financial officer.
And GE (NYSE:GE) rose more than 6% in a January-effect move, as investors looked for solid stocks at rock-bottom prices. GE was down more than 50% last year.
In the coming weeks, the fourth-quarter reporting period will be underway. Analysts see S&P 500 companies posting profit gains of 15.8%, significantly smaller than the third quarter's 28.4% advance.
-- Reuters contributed to this report.