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Seesaw Week for Stocks Continues

Seesaw Week for Stocks Continues

Stocks slipped Wednesday as the U.S.-China trade war once again dominated the headlines, with traders taking their latest cue from reports that Washington is considering sanctions on Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision. The Commerce Department last week put restrictions on U.S. exports to Chinese telecom giant Huawei, which sparked Monday's selloff. But on Tuesday, the U.S. issued Huawei a 90-day reprieve from its trade blacklist, a reversal that sparked a market rebound. Predictably, the return of trade-war tensions on Wednesday made many of yesterday's winners today's losers. Apple (AAPL, -2.1%), which relies on China for a good chunk of iPhone sales, led all Dow decliners. The industrial average lost 0.4% to close at 25,776.

The U.S.-China trade war has hardly been a disaster for investors, but it does appear to have put the market on a tight leash. Since Jan. 22, 2018, American stocks have made two runs into all-time-high territory, but overall, they haven't made much progress. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index is just 2% higher than when the trade conflict started. That sort of sideways trading can be frustrating for even the most patient investors. Fortunately, they have options to help augment what are pretty lackluster returns by price alone. Blue-chip dividend stocks with more than a half-century of annual payout growth are one place to look for a little total-return love. Underappreciated high-yield dividend stocks and high-yield dividend stocks with ample resources to raise their payouts can also help investors beat the sideways-market blues. Cheap, diversified bets on select market sectors or asset classes are another way for investors to make headway in a market hemmed in by trade-war uncertainty. Check out the best exchange-traded funds to fight back against trade worries.

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