US Stocks Trending Downward

US stocks have been trending downward in early trading to close out the week, as investors await a key speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell later today.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down by 1% or more than 200 points at one point during the day before rebounding slightly with an hour-and-a-half remaining in the trading session.

The Nasdaq Composite was off by 1.7%, while the S&P 500 dipped by 1.5%.

The Federal Open Market Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday this week amid growing expectations that it will decide to raise interest rates for the fourth time in last three years, which would be seen as a hawkish signal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down by 258 points or 0.94% at 26,076 with about an hour remaining in the trading day.

The S&P 500 was down 0.81%, while the Nasdaq Composite had slipped 1.7%.

Gold futures settled up $3 or more than 0.2% at $1,328.10 per ounce, while silver eked out a gain of less than 0.01%. Prices are up some 4% on the week.

The yield on the benchmark 10-Year US Treasury slid to 2.95% from 3% on Friday, but is still higher by about 20 bps on the week.

Global stocks markets were broadly lower on Friday amid investor skepticism about the prospects for a US-China trade deal.

In other asset classes, oil prices are slightly higher with West Texas Intermediate up by 0.7% or more than 0.4% at $56.44 per barrel and Brent futures up by about 0.65% at $65.28 per barrel amid expectations that global crude inventories have fallen for the first time this year and as OPEC and Russia mull further production cuts to drain away a burgeoning glut.

In corporate news:

Goldman Sachs Group on Friday reported better-than-expected third quarter results, but revenue fell short on lower trading activity.

In economic news:

The US trade deficit widened more than expected to a near ten-year high in August as exports fell and imports recorded their biggest gain since 2015 amid an increasingly bitter trade war with China.

The total gap between exports and imports, the difference between what America sells and what it buys from other countries, rose 7% to $55.5 billion in August, the highest level since October 2008.

US retail sales fell less than expected in September amid a decline in motor vehicle purchases that was offset by strong gains in receipts at restaurants and bars.

Sales declined 0.2% last month after slipping 0.1% in August, according to data from the US Commerce Department.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, increased by 4% to an annual rate of $13.57 trillion in the second quarter this year.