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Market Sentiment Mixed as Investors Weigh U.S.-China Tensions

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Stocks wavered between slightly up and down Thursday, as investors weighed negative indications on the state of U.S.-China relations and a positive development on the coronavirus vaccine front. 

All three major U.S. indices were largely flat, with the S&P 500 falling as much as 0.3%, before swinging marginally into the green. The 10 year treasury yield slipped to 0.67%. Yields fall when prices rise. 

Cyclical sectors like banking and oil fell, although defensive sectors like large cap consumer staples, which typically hold strong during a risk-off market, fell a tick.  

Holding sentiment back was poor U.S. relations with China. The senate has passed a bill that would delist Chinese companies from American exchanges, as some Chinese companies have not been transparent with accounting and audit records. Public companies in the U.S. must follow rules in accordance with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. Alibaba  (BABA) - Get Alibaba Group Holding Limited American Depositary Shares each representing eight Report shares fell 1.4%

This is a negative signal for the direction of U.S.-China trade relations and a amerce negative. 

A positive signal for market sentiment, shares of AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get AstraZeneca PLC Report rose as much as 6% on the news that the government is giving the company $1 billion to manufacture a vaccine. 

But on the virus front — and possibly fueling the market’s fear of a second wave of infections upon reopenings — reports say a small wave of new infections in China prompted a limited lockdown in a small region of the country near Beijing. 

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