A fresh batch of trade-related saber-rattling forced the Dow and S&P to close trading in the red after starting the day in positive territory while the Nasdaq rose.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.31%, or 79 points to 25,335, while the S&P 500 fell 0.1%, or 3 points to 2,813, and the Nasdaq rose 0.46%, or 36 points to 7,707.
Cigna Spikes After Carl Icahn Takes Stake in Company
Shares of Cigna Corp. (CI) jumped 3% Wednesday afternoon after it was reported that activist investor Carl Icahn has built a 5% stake in the company.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Icahn is also planning to lead a vote against the health insurer's $54 billion planned purchase of Express Scripts (ESRX) because the price of the purchase is too high, according to Icahn.
Cigna agreed to pay about $96.03 per share for the pharmacy-benefit manager, while the company was recently trading around the $78 per share level.
Caesars Halted Temporarily on Disappointing Macau Results
Investors are pushing away from the table Wednesday, sending some of the biggest names in gambling tumbling.
Shares of Caesars Entertainment (CZR) were halted temporarily Wednesday afternoon as investors flee from casino stocks following disappointing revenue growth numbers out of the Macau gaming region in China.
Caesars was down more than 20% at one point, but have since pared losses and is down 15%.
Macau's Gaming Inspection Coordination Bureau reported that gross revenue from gambling rose 10.3% year over year in July to 25.33 billion patacas, or about $3.13 billion. However, analysts polled by Bloomberg were expecting revenue growth north of 11% for the month of July.
Meanwhile, Stifel analyst Steven Wiecynzski said Macau's July results were "right down the middle" of consensus expectations. But he also said he only expected to see shares modestly lower following the results.
U.S. futures are shaky ahead of the market's open, with Nasdaq contracts rising wall Dow and S&P futures decline.
Dow futures are falling 0.13%, indicating an open 34 points lower, while S&P futures were down 0.04%, indicating an open 1 point lower. Nasdaq futures are rising 0.21%, indicating an open 15 points higher.
Asian markets were also mixed with the Shanghai Composite and Hang Seng declining 1.8% and 0.85% respectively, while the Nikkei gained 0.86%.
European markets were lower across the board, with the FTSE 100 declining 1.27%, the DAX fell 0.27%, and the CAC 40 fell 0.1%.