Wall Street nudges up as investors await U.S.-China trade clarity

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes were very slightly higher on Monday after closing at records on Friday and investors digested mixed headlines on U.S.-China trade relations.

The market appeared to welcome Washington’s grant of an extension for U.S. companies to do business with Huawei since the Chinese telecommunications equipment maker was put on a U.S. blacklist in May.

But also on investors minds was a CNBC report that the mood about a potential trade deal was pessimistic in Beijing due to President Donald Trump’s reluctance to roll back tariffs.

This was after Chinese state media said on Saturday that the two sides had held “constructive” trade talks, days after White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said they were close to a deal.

“We keep getting told we have this deal and it has yet to be finalized and then you get these reports going in the other direction,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Stamford, Connecticut. “Investors are being patient because they don’t want to chase new all times highs too far until they have clarity on trade.”

At 2:33 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 33.4 points, or 0.12%, to 28,038.29, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 3.26 points, or 0.10%, to 3,123.72 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 15.72 points, or 0.18%, to 8,556.55.

Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were trading higher, with defensives such as utilities .SPLRCU, real estate .SPLRCR and consumer staples .SPLRCS, also known as bond proxies due to their high dividend yields, leading the percentage gains.

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The energy sector .SPNY was the biggest percentage loser dropping 1.32% as oil prices fell. [O/R]

Later this week, investors will turn their attention to minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting, where the central bank cut interest rates for the third time this year. Also ahead are results from U.S. retailers, including Home Depot Inc HD.N, Kohl's Corp KSS.N and Target Corp TGT.N.

Shares of HP Inc HPQ.N fell 1.51% after the company rebuffed a $33.5 billion offer from Xerox Holdings Corp XRX.N and said it was open to exploring a bid for the latter.

Coty Inc COTY.N gained 2.18% after the cosmetics maker said it would pay $600 million for a majority stake in Kylie Jenner's make-up and skincare businesses.

The S&P 500 posted 37 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 95 new highs and 115 new lows.

Additional reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Steve Orlofsky