May 22, 2019 / 3:55 PM / in a year

US STOCKS-Wall St slips as trade tensions mount; Fed minutes awaited

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* Qualcomm slumps after judge rules against co’s practices

* Lowe’s, Nordstrom fall on disappointing FY forecasts

* Fed’s minutes from April meeting due at 2:00 pm ET

* Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors trading lower

* Indexes off: Dow 0.25%, S&P 0.22%, Nasdaq 0.31% (Updates prices, adds comments)

By Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar

May 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks dipped on Wednesday, as trade tensions were heightened on reports that Washington could impose sanctions on another Chinese company, while investors awaited the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting.

The reports come after the United States temporarily eased curbs on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, calming investor nerves on Tuesday over a hit to technology sector earnings from the Trump administration’s decision last week to add the Chinese telecoms equipment maker to a trade blacklist.

However, likely similar curbs on Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision soured sentiment on Wednesday.

“Both sides feel they’ve leverage right now to take harder position and everybody’s going to need to stay safe, but markets are willing to give some space on the belief that a deal is going to happen,” said Phil Guarco, global investment specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Miami.

“The one worry about the deal not getting done is that China is stimulating its economy and the U.S. economy is doing very well.”

The daily exchanges between the United States and China have kept investors on edge and knocked the benchmark S&P 500 index 3.4% off its all-time high hit on May 1.

Also weighing was Qualcomm Inc’s 10.6% plunge, which contributed the most to a 0.35% drop in the S&P 500 technology sector.

A federal judge ruled that the chipmaker illegally suppressed competition in the market for smartphone chips by threatening to cut off supplies and extracting excessive licensing fees.

At 11:18 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 63.57 points, or 0.25%, at 25,813.76. The S&P 500 was down 6.17 points, or 0.22%, at 2,858.19 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 24.20 points, or 0.31%, at 7,761.53.

The Fed is expected to release at 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT)minutes from its two-day policy meeting in late April when it held interest rates steady.

Fed’s St. Louis chief James Bullard, a voter in the rate-setting committee this year, said on Wednesday further weakness in inflation could prompt the central bank to cut rates, even if economic growth maintains its momentum.

The communication services index was among four of the 11 major S&P sectors trading higher, lifted by a 2.3% gain in Netflix Inc.

Retailers wrapped up the first-quarter earnings season on a downbeat note, with Lowe’s Cos Inc falling 10.6% after the home improvement chain cut its full-year profit forecast.

Lowe’s was the biggest drag on the consumer discretionary sector, down 0.55%.

Nordstrom Inc declined 8.8% after the department store operator reduced its full-year sales and profit forecasts.

Retailer Target Corp jumped 9.5%, the most among S&P 500 companies, after its quarterly same-store sales and profit beat estimates.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.86-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.05-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 17 new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 32 new highs and 67 new lows. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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