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Health and tech stocks slip; Amazon touches $1 trillion

Health and tech stocks slip; Amazon touches $1 trillion
Members of the Mid Island Little League team from Staten Island, N.Y., applaud as their manager rings the New York Stock Exchange opening bell Aug. 31. (Richard Drew / Associated Press)

U.S. stocks finished lower Tuesday as losses for healthcare and technology companies canceled out gains for banks. Amazon climbed, and its market value briefly reached $1 trillion.

Banks rose as interest rates climbed. Nike slumped after it gave a major endorsement deal to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, known for his protests of police brutality and racial injustice.

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Investors didn't commit to many big moves as trading resumed after the Labor Day holiday. They are likely to focus on trade this week, as the United States is scheduled to resume trade talks with Canada on Wednesday and could announce new tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports later in the week.

Mark Hackett, chief of investment research at financial services firm Nationwide, said investors are paying less attention to trade-related headlines recently because they are fairly certain they know how the talks will end.

“I'm still pretty confident that before midterms or by the end of the year we're going to have a handshake agreement with the NAFTA region and China,” he said.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped 4.80 points, or 0.2%, to 2,896.72. The Dow Jones industrial average edged down 12.34 points, or less than 0.1%, to 25,952.48. The Nasdaq composite slipped 18.29 points, or 0.2%, to 8,091.25. The Russell 2000 index fell 7.38 points, or 0.4%, to 1,733.38.

The S&P 500 has risen in eight of the last nine weeks, and Wednesday it closed at an all-time high.

Drugmakers and suppliers took some of the sharpest losses Tuesday, and big technology companies including Facebook and Alphabet, Google's parent company, also slumped.

Nike stock fell 3.2% to $79.60 after the company said Kaepernick will be one of the faces of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. Investors feared a possible backlash from customers.

Tesla skidded 4.2% to $288.95 after a Goldman Sachs analyst said the company will face rising competition from other electric car makers as an important federal tax credit is phased out, while its spending is likely to increase further. Goldman analyst David Tamberrino expects the stock to fall to $210 in six months.

Amazon briefly traded above $1 trillion in market value, a milestone only Apple has surpassed among publicly traded U.S. companies. Amazon finished up 1.3% at $2,039.51, which gave it a market value of $995 billion.

Apple reached the $1-trillion mark Aug. 2 and is now valued at $1.1 trillion. According to S&P Dow Jones Indices, Amazon and Apple combined account for 8% of the current value of the S&P 500.

Talks to keep Canada in a revised North American trade deal are scheduled to resume Wednesday as Washington and Ottawa try to break a deadlock over issues such as Canada's dairy market and U.S. efforts to shield drug companies from generic competition.

The United States and Mexico announced a preliminary trade deal last week. The Trump administration has threatened to leave Canada out of a final deal, but investors doubt that will happen.

Nationwide’s Hackett said talks with China are far more complicated, but investors feel the Chinese government will ultimately make significant concessions. He said that is reflected in the gains for U.S. stocks in recent months and the losses for indexes in China and other emerging markets.

“Investors are pretty solidly betting that the U.S. is going to quote-unquote win the trade war,” he said.

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Chinese e-commerce company JD.com slid 6% to $29.43 after founder and Chief Executive Richard Liu was arrested in Minneapolis. Liu was arrested late Friday on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct and was released pending charges. JD.com said he has returned to China.

Bond prices dropped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.90% from 2.85%.

Bank stocks rose modestly, as higher long-term interest rates mean they can make more money from mortgages and other types of loans. Real estate firms, household goods makers and other high-dividend stocks fell, as investors sold those stocks and bought bonds instead.

Benchmark U.S. crude edged up 0.1% to $69.87 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was little changed at $78.17 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline slipped 0.1% to $1.99 a gallon. Heating oil rose 0.5% to $2.25 a gallon. Natural gas slumped 3.2% to $2.82 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Metals prices fell. Gold fell 0.6% to $1,199.10 an ounce. Silver slid 2.6% to $14.18 an ounce. Copper slid 2.6% to $2.60 a pound.

The dollar rose to 111.48 yen from 111.01 yen. The euro fell to $1.1581 from $1.1597.

2:25 p.m.: This article was updated with closing prices, context and analyst comment.

This article was originally published at 9:55 a.m.

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