January 29, 2019 / 4:45 PM / 6 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St edges lower on tech retreat, trade concerns

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* Allergan drops as 2019 forecast misses estimates

* Harley-Davidson tumbles on 4th-qtr profit miss

* 3M, defense companies lead industrial stocks higher

* Apple dips ahead of earnings

* Dow up 0.10 pct, S&P dips 0.30 pct, Nasdaq down 0.83 pct (Changes comment, adds details, updates prices)

By Sruthi Shankar

Jan 29 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell on Tuesday, as technology stocks pulled back, while concerns about the upcoming U.S.-China trade talks and mixed earnings reports gave little impetus for markets to recover from a slide a day earlier.

Wall Street sold off on Monday as profit alerts from Caterpillar Inc and Nvidia Corp raised fears that a slowdown in China and tariffs could take a bigger hit on profits.

Industrial stocks, which took a beating after Caterpillar’s warning on Monday, gained ground. The index rose 1.1 percent, driven by strong reports for 3M Co and defense companies, in turn helping the Dow Jones industrial index stay afloat.

Technology stocks fell 0.9 percent with Apple Inc , set to report after market close on Tuesday, dipping 0.6 percent. Amazon.com Inc, Facebook Inc and Microsoft Corp, all scheduled to report later this week, fell more than 2 percent.

“Investors are trading with caution, like they normally do ahead of any big trade negotiation and a central bank event,” said Everett Millman, precious metals specialist at Gainesville Coins in Lutz, Florida.

“There is a lot of mixed signals that is creating this no man’s land where there is no clear direction and markets get into this trend of back and forth.”

In a potential setback to the progress in U.S.-China trade talks, the Justice Department leveled charges against China’s telecom giant Huawei days before a high-level meeting between the two countries in Washington, aimed to tackle a prolonged tariff war that has roiled financial markets.

The Federal Reserve begins its two-day monetary policy meeting on Tuesday. After raising rates gradually last year, the central bank is taking a wait-and-see approach to further tightening in the face of an overseas slowdown and market volatility.

Economic data also added to weak sentiment. Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell to its lowest since July 2017, with a reading of 120.2 in January, that fell short of analysts’ estimate of 124.7.

At 11:21 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 23.95 points, or 0.10 percent, at 24,552.17, the S&P 500 was down 7.99 points, or 0.30 percent, at 2,635.86 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 59.09 points, or 0.83 percent, at 7,026.60.

Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower. The S&P communication services index fell about 1 percent, dragged down by wireless carrier Verizon Communications Inc , which dipped 2.2 percent after missing quarterly revenue estimates.

Defense contractors L3 Technologies Inc rose 7.6 percent and Harris Corp climbed 7.9 percent after topping quarterly earnings estimates.

Harley-Davidson Inc dropped 7 percent after the motorcycle maker reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, hit by declining sales in the United States.

Allergan Plc fell 7.5 percent after the Botox maker forecast 2019 revenue below expectations.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.31-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.18-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 10 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 19 new highs and 16 new lows. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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