US close: Mixed session on the Street as geopolitical tensions remain firmly in focus
Wall Street stocks closed with some mixed results on the first day of trading this week as geopolitical tensions remained firmly in focus.
At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.03% at 26,727.54, while the S&P 500 was trading 0.17% softer at 2,945.35 and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 0.32% weaker at 8,005.70.
The Dow closed just 8.4 points higher on Monday after finishing slightly lower at the end of the previous week, despite a flurry of 'dovish' remarks from top US central bank officials.
Market participants kept a close eye on remarks out of Washington and Beijing ahead of an expected meeting between the US and Chinese Presidents on the margins of this week's G-20 leaders' summit in Japan.
Over the weekend, Chinese officials said the Asian nation wanted Washington to stop "inappropriate" action against Chinese firms.
Investors were also heavily focused on geopolitics and the escalating tensions between Iran and the US after Donald Trump revealed over the weekend that the US would impose "major" additional sanctions on Iran on Monday but Iran dismissed the threat as "just propaganda".
But come Monday, Trump was directing his ire elsewhere, taking another swipe at the Federal Reserve, claiming that the Dow Jones Industrial Average could have been "thousands of points higher" if the central bank had not "blown it".
The president, who has long been critical of the Fed and in particular of chair Jerome Powell, made the comments after the central bank voted at its monthly meeting last week to keep interest rates on hold, despite growing concerns about the impact on the US of a slowing global economy and Trump’s increasingly bitter trade war with China.
In terms of data, the economic calendar was quite sparse on Monday, with the Chicago Fed's National Activity Index rising to –0.05 in May from the –0.48 recorded in April, missing consensus but still pointing to a pickup in economic growth.
Elsewhere, the Dallas Fed's manufacturing activity index for June came in weaker than expected at -12.1 versus estimates for a reading of -2.0, following the lead set by the Philly and New York Feds earlier in the month.
May's figure printed at -5.3, consistent with the other regional indices.
On the corporate front, cruise ship operator Carnival shares sunk 1.23% after analysts at Barclays forecast some rough seas on the group's horizon, while Caesars Entertainment surged 14.51% after the casino operator agreed to be bought out by Eldorado Resorts for more than $17m.
United Technologies closed 1.11% firmer after analysts at Cowen upgraded its stock to 'outperform' from 'market perform', while Deere shares climbed 1.58% after being upgraded to 'buy' at UBS.
Bristol-Myers Squibb shares fell 7.42% after announcing its $74bn merger with Celgene would be delayed until at least the end of the year.