November 16, 2018 / 6:51 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-S&P 500 wavers after Trump trade comments, Nvidia hits Nasdaq

* Chipmakers fall after weak outlook from Nvidia

* Nordstrom falls on Q3 same-store sales miss, credit card issue

* Energy stocks gain as oil recovers

* S&P turns higher on Trump’s trade comments before paring

* Indexes: Dow up 0.34 pct, S&P up 0.09 pct, Nasdaq off 0.40 pct (Updates to early afternoon)

By Sruthi Shankar

Nov 16 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 swung between gains and losses on Friday following conflicting reports on a U.S. trade deal with China, while weakness in chipmaker Nvidia weighed on the Nasdaq.

President Donald Trump said the United States may not have to impose further tariffs on China, but added the situation was still not acceptable to him.

Stocks have been volatile as differing reports on the outcome of talks expected between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the sidelines of a G20 summit in Argentina later this month kept investors on edge.

Wall Street opened lower after disappointing earnings from chip companies and retailers as well as Brexit-related concerns.

Nvidia Corp fell 19.1 percent after the chip designer blamed unsold chips piling up as the cryptocurrency mining boom fizzles out.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor index was down 1.5 percent and technology stocks fell 0.2 percent.

“You have this macro backdrop that is shifting and changing and it’s meeting somewhat disappointing earnings from the tech sector and that is causing further volatility,” said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Taking some pressure off the markets were comments from new Federal Reserve vice chair Richard Clarida about U.S. interest rates nearing the central bank’s estimates of a neutral rate.

Analysts said Clarida’s comments suggested that the Fed may be nearing the end of its tightening cycle. The bank typically stops raising rates once they hit the neutral level.

Worries about rising interest rates, peaking corporate earnings and signs of a slowdown in global growth have prompted investors to sell off risky assets. After the S&P 500’s weakest performance in seven years in October, stocks are still struggling to find footing.

At 1:25 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 86.05 points, or 0.34 percent, at 25,375.32, the S&P 500 was up 2.36 points, or 0.09 percent, at 2,732.56 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 29.29 points, or 0.40 percent, at 7,229.75.

Energy stocks rose 0.8 percent as oil prices recovered from sharp losses this week on expectations that OPEC and its allies would agree to cut output next month.

In a gloomy week for retailers, department store operator Nordstrom Inc fell 14.7 percent after quarterly same-store sales missed estimates and the company reported charges from a credit card problem.

Nordstrom was the biggest decliner on the S&P discretionary index, which fell 0.7 percent.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with utilities rising 1.2 percent as PG&E Corp jumped 38.5 percent, following steep losses in the past six days.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that a regulatory official said it did not want PG&E to go into bankruptcy should the utility be found responsible for the deadly wildfires in northern California.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.02-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.25-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 24 new 52-week highs and 10 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 22 new highs and 93 new lows. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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