US equities were mixed at the start of a week that could be pivotal for global trade, while lawmakers in Washington continue to negotiate a contentious spending bill. The dollar strengthened for an eighth day, and 10-year Treasuries fell.

The S&P 500 was little changed on Monday after starting the session higher. Industrials, anchored by railroads, were among the biggest gainers, while communications and health-care shares led declines.

Stocks are coming off a lackluster week, with investors awaiting high-level US-China trade talks. The threat of a shutdown in Washington is also in focus, as political tensions flare between Congress and the president. Volumes have been lower than average all session, and some investors may be sitting on the sidelines waiting for more potent market catalysts to emerge.


Equities gained in China as exchanges reopened after a holiday. Trading in the rest of Asia was mixed. Trade tensions are ratcheting up as investors evaluate the prospects for a US-China deal before the 1 March deadline for higher tariffs, as warnings mount that the dispute is curbing the global economic expansion and denting corporate profits. Japan’s securities markets were shut for a holiday, and the yen weakened.

“Happiness is a low bar," said Kim Forrest, senior portfolio manager at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh. “The Street would just like to see America and China continue to talk because the problems that separate the two sides are so profound, but we think as long as they’re talking, trade can go through.’’

Earnings season continues with the likes of Michelin reporting today, and Nissan and Cisco later this week. Yields rose on Treasuries and most European sovereign bonds. The pound stayed lower after the U.K. economy unexpectedly shrank in December.

Elsewhere, West Texas crude futures hovered around $52 a barrel, while gold headed for its first drop in three sessions. The Swiss franc swooned almost 1 percent at the start of Asia trading Monday in a mini-recurrence of the “flash crash" that roiled FX markets early last month.

These are the main moves in markets:


The S&P 500 Index rose 0.1%, as of 12:58 pm New York time. The Nasdaq 100 gained 0.1% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1%. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.9%. The MSCI Emerging Market Index fell 0.1%.


The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed 0.5%, hitting the highest in almost six weeks. The euro fell 0.5% to $1.127. The British pound dipped 0.7% to $1.2855, the weakest in a month. The Japanese yen dipped 0.7% to 110.46 per dollar, the weakest in more than six weeks.


The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose three basis points to 2.67%, the first advance in a week. Germany’s 10-year yield jumped three basis points to 0.12%. Britain’s 10-year yield increased three basis points to 1.18%.


West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude decreased 1.2% to $52.11 a barrel, the lowest in two weeks. Gold sank 0.5% to $1,307.33 an ounce.