By Medha Singh
(Reuters) – Advances in some of the biggest technology companies were set to lift Wall Street’s main indexes on Monday, as investors looked past last week’s reports that Washington was considering delisting Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges.
Apple Inc (O:) was the biggest gainer among Dow-listed () stocks before the bell, as JP Morgan raised its iPhone shipment volume forecast. Microsoft Corp (O:) climbed 0.2%.
Still, the main indexes were on course to end the quarter with their worst performance so far this year, with sentiment swinging wildly due to developments in the U.S.-China trade war and mixed indications from domestic economic data.
Reports about the United States curbing Chinese companies’ access to U.S. capital markets sparked a sell-off on Friday, with the S&P 500 () and Nasdaq () hitting a more than three-week low during the session.
However, on Monday, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro dismissed the reports as “fake news.”
“If the U.S. goes down this road, it could have some serious repercussions,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.
“It could possibly lead to the Chinese selling U.S. treasuries and could put pressure on the Treasury market, so it needs to be well thought out before being executed.”
China was the second largest owner of U.S. Treasuries in July, behind Japan, but its holdings were the smallest since April 2017.
The third quarter witnessed an escalation in trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies, the inversion of an important part of the U.S. yield curve, a second U.S. interest rate cut and political turmoil in Washington.
The S&P 500 and Dow are on track for their smallest percentage gain in three quarters, with the Nasdaq heading for a marginal decline.
The benchmark index is now more than 2% away from its record high hit in July.
At 8:59 a.m. ET, were up 20 points, or 0.07%.
In a bright spot, drugmaker Mallinckrodt (N:) rose 4%after finalizing a settlement with Cuyahoga and Summit counties in Ohio in connection with opioid-related lawsuits.
UnitedHealth Group (N:) slipped 0.8% after BMO Capital Markets downgraded the stock to “market perform.”
The focus this week will be on economic reports, including a pivotal jobs report and the September ISM purchasing managers index (PMI). August’s PMI data showed a contraction in the manufacturing sector.
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