March 14, 2019 / 7:49 PM / 7 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St near flat as trade deal outlook uncertain

* Trump-Xi meeting pushed to at least April - Bloomberg

* U.S. new home sales fall more than expected in Jan

* Indexes down: Dow 0.01 pct, S&P 0.1 pct, Nasdaq 0.1 pct (Updates late afternoon)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

March 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed in late afternoon trading on Thursday amid uncertainty over when a trade deal between the United States and China would be reached.

President Donald Trump said the United States was doing very well in trade talks with China, but could not say whether a final deal would be reached.

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had been expected to hold a summit at the president’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida later this month, but no date has been set for a meeting. Bloomberg reported on Thursday that a meeting between the two was more likely to take place in April at the earliest.

Chipmakers, which rely on China for a large portion of their revenue also lost ground with the Philadelphia SE chip index off 0.5 percent.

“The good news is mildly negative news on China trade doesn’t tip the apple cart over anymore,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

“But breaking out of the next level of resistance has been a wall to get through. It shows we’re probably range-bound 2,750 to 2,800 until we get answers to China trade, Brexit etc.”

In the latest of a series of votes, British lawmakers on Thursday approved by 412 votes to 202 a motion setting out the option to request a short delay if a Brexit deal can be agreed by March 20 — or a longer delay if no deal can be agreed in time.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.58 points, or 0.01 percent, to 25,701.31, the S&P 500 lost 2.68 points, or 0.10 percent, to 2,808.24 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 10.06 points, or 0.13 percent, to 7,633.34.

Boeing, the single largest U.S. exporter to China, slipped 0.8 percent. The world’s largest planemaker had its own troubles this week after its money-spinning 737 MAX jets were grounded globally following a recent fatal crash in Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, a Commerce Department report showed sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell more than expected in January, suggesting the housing market weakness persisted early in the first quarter.

The PHLX housing index dipped 0.5 percent on the news, while the broader real estate sector declined 0.2 percent.

Downbeat housing data follows tame inflation reports this week which underscored the Federal Reserve’s patient stance on future interest rate hikes and helped the S&P and Nasdaq post three consecutive session of gains.

Apple Inc rose 1 percent, extending a four-day winning streak, after brokerage Cowen and Co started coverage with an “outperform” rating. An Apple-led technology rally has propped markets recently.

Johnson & Johnson slipped 0.8 percent after a California jury awarded $29 million to a woman who said that asbestos in the company’s talcum-powder-based products caused her cancer. (Additional reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Diane Craft)

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