Australia markets closed

Stocks: S&P, Dow Slip as Trade Worries Drag On – The U.S.-China trade negotiations continued to hover over U.S. stocks, sending the major averages modestly lower on the day.

The S&P 500 and the Dow were each off about 0.2% and the NASDAQ Composite and Nasdaq 100 indices were down about 0.25% each.

That the index changes were so close suggests that most of the buying and selling was being generated by computer algorithms and that many investors are waiting for a trade deal to get done.

The best news for investors was another gain for energy stocks, which were the best-performing S&P 500 sector of the market by far, rising 1.5% as oil prices moved more than 2.5% higher. Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) topped the Dow stocks.

Pushing energy shares higher, according to columnist Barani Krishnan, is Saudi Arabian moves to keep oil prices up ahead of the pricing for the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil giant. Aramco is expected to price its offering next month.

West Texas Intermediate crude rose $1.57 to $58.58 in New York and is up more than 5% since Tuesday.

Tech stocks were the laggards, with chips hardest hit because of worries about the uncertainty surrounding the U.S.-China trade negotiations. Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), Visa (NYSE:V) and Boeing (NYSE:BA) also weighed on the market.

A bullish economic signal was a report that existing home sales rose more than expected in October. The National Association of Realtors said lower mortgage rates and tight supplies sales up by their highest rate in two years.

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