NEW YORK (AFP) – Wall Street stocks finished a choppy session little changed on Tuesday (June 8) as markets digested data showing a lower US trade deficit while upstart retail investors found a new favourite vehicle.

The US trade deficit dipped by US$6.1 billion (S$8 billion) to US$68.9 billion in April, slightly larger than expected, as exports rose and imports fell, according to Commerce Department data.

Retail investors on WallStreetBets, part of the Reddit platform, coalesced on Tuesday around Clover Health Investments, lifting the insurer by more than 85 per cent in the latest surprise wave of stock-buying.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.1 per cent at 34,599.82.

The broad-based S&P 500 was flat at 4,227.26, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.3 per cent to 13,924.91.

Equities have been choppy in recent weeks as investors have assessed the upside of the reopening economy against worries over inflation and supply chain troubles.

This week’s calendar includes crucial consumer price data on Thursday that could either exacerbate or mitigate inflation worries.

Among individual companies, Southwest Airlines jumped one percent after disclosing in a securities filing that it exercised options for another 34 firm orders of the Boeing 737 Max jet, a sign of rising travel demand. Boeing rose 0.1 per cent.

Lordstown Motors, an electric car start-up, sank 16.3 per cent after disclosing that it lacks sufficient capital to launch commercial production.

The company also said in a securities filing that its financial condition raised “substantial doubt regarding our ability to continue as a going concern”.

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