U.S. stocks turned negative in early trade on Thursday, giving up slight gains as declines in consumer staples and telecommunication pressured equity benchmarks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 26 points, or 0.1%, at 21,788, while the S&P 500 index
was trading 0.1% lower at 2,440, with its consumer-staples sector, down 0.6%, performing the worst among its 11 categories. The technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index, meanwhile, was 0.1% lower at 6,271. The declines, as were the early advances, were slight and likely set the stage for a volatile day, marked by seasonally low trading volumes. Investors are mainly focused on the start of a symposium of central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyo., which could set the tone for markets. They are also closely following messages out of the White House, as President Donald Trump dials up the rhetoric with a series of tweets, hinting at continued discord between him and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, which could make forging new legislation and avoiding a government shutdown difficult.