Dow industrials teeter on brink as S&P and Nasdaq slump early Wednesday

U.S. stocks on Wednesday fought to climb higher at the open, with the Dow and S&P 500 trading at break-even levels as investors wrestled with concerns about trade clashes and awaited the latest update to Apple Inc.‘s product lineup. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1% at 25,995, the S&P 500 index traded little changed at 2,888, but edged into positive territory. The Nasdaq Composite Index meanwhile, was down 0.3% at 7,947, weighed by a sharp decline in the shares of chip makers, as gauged by the iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF a popular way to bet on the sector. In economic reports, the producer-price index, a measure of the prices businesses receive for their goods and services, declined a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in August from a month earlier, the Labor Department said Wednesday, marking the first monthly decline since February of 2017. Apple‘s event is expected to kick off at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, where the iPhone marker will roll out a series of updates to its popular roster of gadgets. Trade tensions between the U.S. and its global partners has been the biggest headwind for stocks gaining significantly, with the benchmarks trading in a narrow range for that past several months. Later Wednesday an anecdotal report on business conditions in the Fed‘s districts are due at 2 p.m. Meanwhile, investors also were watching developments on the U.S.‘s East Coast, where Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 storm, is expected to buffet the region with high winds and rain, resulting in the evacuation order of some 1 million people in the Carolinas.

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