Dow Lower on Weaker Data, Trade Suspense

Stocks traded lower on Thursday following the release of disappointing U.S. economic data. Wall Street also kept an eye on Washington as U.S.-China trade negotiations carried on.

The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 65.76 points to 25,888.68, as Johnson & Johnson lagged.

The S&P 500 dropped 6.78 points to 2,777.92, led lower by the communications and real estate sectors.

The NASDAQ Composite wilted 16.93 points to 7,472.14

Durable goods orders for December, meanwhile, rose 1.2%, the Commerce Department said. The department also said core capital goods orders fell 0.7%, while economists expected a gain of 0.2%.

IHS Markit also said its U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 53.7 in February, a 17-month low, from 54.9 last month.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board's leading economic index fell for the second straight month in January, marking the index's first back-to-back pullback since early 2016.

The data releases come a day after the Federal Reserve released the minutes from its January meeting. The minutes highlighted downside risks to the U.S. economy, including "a rapid waning of fiscal policy stimulus, or a further tightening of financial market conditions."

However, the Fed also hinted it may end its balance-sheet normalization process faster than expected. This would be positive for equity investors, as many see the reduction of the balance sheet as a form of tighter monetary policy.

Prices for the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury slid, raising yields to 2.69% from Wednesday’s 2.65%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices doffed 32 cents to $56.84 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices fell $14.50 to $1,333.40 U.S. an ounce.