U.S. stocks edged mostly lower Thursday as declines in communications services, materials and materials offset gains in financials and technology. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.03% however, managed to eke out a modest gain, rising by about 7 points, or less than 0.1%, to finish at 25,710, as a decline in Boeing Co. BA, -1.02% weighed on the blue-chip index. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.09% lost 0.1% to 2,808, but managed to hold on to a psychologically significant level at 2,800, despite the retreat. On Wednesday, the broad-market index closed at that level for the first time since March 1. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.16% closed down by about 0.2% at 7,630. All three benchmarks are no track for sharp weekly gains. Still, reports that raised some doubts about progress in Sino-American trade negotiations weighed on Wall Street, keeping the buying mood in check. Bloomberg News reported that a meeting on trade between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping was being pushed back to April rather than later this month. On top of that, sluggish Chinese economic data hurt sentiment to start the session, with official data from Beijing showing that industrial output slowed more than expected in January and February, adding to concerns that the world's second-biggest economy is slowing down. In corporate news, social-media giant Facebook Inc. FB, -1.85% saw its shares fall nearly 2%, after the New York Times reported that a grand jury was undertaking a criminal investigation into the social-media platform's data-sharing practices. Meanwhile, the U.K. Parliament voted to request an extension of the March 29 Brexit deadline, as expected. Boeing Co. shares fell 1% as the aviation and defense contractor continued to be buffeted by the worldwide grounding of its 737 Max jet fleet.
Have breaking news sent to your inbox. Subscribe to MarketWatch's free Bulletin emails. Sign up here.