Stocks Slip

Stocks were slightly in the red Thursday as investors reacted to reports that China's top trade official has invited U.S. negotiators to take part in fresh talks and that a round of U.S. tariffs scheduled to go into effect next month could be postponed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 28 points, or 0.1%, to 27,792.68, the S&P 500 was off 0.12% and the Nasdaq were down by 0.09%.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He reportedly invited U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to Beijing for further negotiations, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

A new round of U.S. tariffs is scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 15, but the South China Morning Post reported those likely will be postponed.

In corporate news, TD Ameritrade surged 15.3% to $47.70 following a report that discount brokerage rival Charles Schwab was eyeing the company for a takeover. Fox Business pegged the value at $26 billion, citing sources. At that price, it would be a premium of roughly 18% to Ameritrade’s market capitalization.

Macy's slipped 1% to $14.87 after the retail giant posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings, but said same store sales fell notably and trimmed its full-year profit guidance.

Tesla was rising 1.4% to $357.22 in anticipation of the debut of its electric pickup truck, which is expected to be unveiled at an event Thursday evening in Los Angeles.

The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index in November rose to a seasonally adjusted reading of 10.4 from 5.6 in October, ahead of analysts' expectations of a 7 reading.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits were flat at a seasonally adjusted 227,000 for the week ended Nov. 16, the U.S. Labor Department said, the highest level since June 22. Data for the prior week was revised to show 2,000 more claims received than previously reported.

The 10-year Treasury note yield rose 1.5 basis points to 1.753%.