(Reuters) – The benchmark S&P 500 index fell on Friday, weighed down by losses in shares of Alphabet and Applied Materials, although industrial stocks helped limit losses on signs of progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks.

China denied it had offered a package to slash the U.S. trade deficit by up to $200 billion, hours after it dropped an anti-dumping probe into U.S. sorghum imports in a conciliatory gesture as top negotiators meet in Washington.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said the consultations were “constructive” as the world’s two biggest economies are seeking to bridge a divide on trade issues.

“The focus today will be on trade talks as China denied any major reductions in surplus,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

Alphabet (GOOGL.O) tumbled 1.3 percent, weighing the most on the Nasdaq. Google is set to be featured on CBS News’ “60 minutes” this weekend.

Applied Materials (AMAT.O) dropped 9.9 percent after the chip gear maker’s disappointing forecast renewed concerns over slowing smartphone demand.

The warning dragged down Philadelphia chipmaker index .SOX by 1.45 percent, while the broader technology sector .SPLRCT dropped 0.31 percent.

The industrial sector .SPLRCI jumped 0.42 percent, the most among the 11 major S&P sectors, with Boeing’s (BA.N) near 2 percent rise giving the biggest lift.

At 10:11 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 3.44 points, or 0.01 percent, at 24,717.42, kept afloat by Boeing and other industrial stocks.

The S&P 500 .SPX was down 6.53 points, or 0.24 percent, at 2,713.60 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 27.41 points, or 0.37 percent, at 7,355.06.

With 10-year Treasury yields, the benchmark for global borrowing costs, holding above the key 3-percent level and oil prices hovering around the $80 per barrel mark, investors have been fretting about their impact on corporate results.

Campbell Soup and tractor maker Deere & Co joined a long list of companies that blamed higher raw material and freight costs for a drop in profit margins.

Campbell Soup (CPB.N) fell 11.5 percent after its chief executive officer decided to step down and a cut in full-year profit forecast. Shares of a host of other food companies also declined.

Deere (DE.N) jumped 4.2 percent after the company raised its full-year earnings estimate.

Nordstrom (JWN.N) declined 10.5 percent after the upscale department store operator reported same-store sales that missed analysts’ expectations.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.00-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.08-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded two new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 99 new highs and 13 new lows.

Source: Reuters

Photo: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid