* Retailers are among biggest percentage losers
* Trump-Xi meeting set for Thursday and Friday
* Bank of America falls on Citigroup downgrade
* Dow up 0.12 pct, S&P and Nasdaq both down 0.02 pct
(Updates prices, commentary, changes byline)
By Sinead Carew
April 4 U.S. stocks were little changed on
Tuesday, trading in a tight range, as investors stayed on the
sidelines ahead of the first-quarter earnings season and fretted
over the ability of President Donald Trump to deliver on his
Investors were also focused on a potentially tense meeting
between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping set for the end
of the week. Retail stocks swooned after Ralph Lauren
said it was shutting its flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York
and cutting jobs.
"We're seeing the market process. Investors are trying to
decide are things going to get better or get worse," said Kim
Forrest, senior equity research analyst, Fort Pitt Capital Group
in Pittsburgh. "We're sitting on the sidelines waiting for
earnings to begin in earnest next week."
The market moved off session lows earlier in the day after
Trump said a proposed U.S. infrastructure bill may top $1
trillion and that his administration was working on a major
"haircut" on Dodd-Frank banking regulation.
The comments helped industrial and material stocks. The S&P
industrial sector and the materials sector
were both up 0.2 percent. Caterpillar gained 2 percent.
However, financials investors appeared skeptical as the S&P
bank subsector was down 0.4 percent.
While Trump's pro-business policy promises have helped U.S.
equities hit record highs since the Nov. 8 election that brought
him to power, recent setbacks in pushing reforms through
Congress have led investors to question his ability to deliver.
"We will probably have a period of consolidation here as the
realism sets in ... It's likely that we are going to see some
choppy sideways trading," said Jason Pride, director of
investment strategy at Glenmede in Philadelphia.
At 2:55 P.M. EDT (1855 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial
Average was up 24.95 points, or 0.12 percent, to
20,675.16, the S&P 500 had lost 0.48 point, or 0.02
percent, to 2,358.36 and the Nasdaq Composite had
dropped 1.10 points, or 0.02 percent, to 5,893.59.
Ralph Lauren shares fell 4.8 percent to $77.48. The
retailer's struggles were a worrying sign for a sector losing
ground to online shopping sites. Nordstrom Inc was down
5.2 percent, L Brands Inc was down 4.4 percent, Kohl's
Corp was down 3.5 percent and Macys Inc was down
The financials index fell 0.28 percent. Bank of
America was its biggest drag with a 0.6 percent decline
after a rating cut by Citigroup.
The biggest drag on the S&P and the Nasdaq was Nvidia
, which dropped 7.1 percent to $100.65 after Pacific
Crest downgraded the chipmaker's stock.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a
1.08-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.48-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 11 new 52-week highs and seven new lows;
the Nasdaq Composite recorded 36 new highs and 43 new lows.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Savio D'Souza and James Dalgleish)