By Herbert Lash NEW YORK (Reuters) – US stocks fell on Thursday after US President Joe Biden said China was ready to “eat our lunch,” a warning that raised concerns about a market hovering around the all-time highs hoping for more stimulus and solid earnings. and better prospects for the pandemic. A 1.7% rise in PayPal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 helped Information Technology gain 0.5%, the only sector on the Nasdaq and to rise, with all others in decline. Biden told a group of US senators at a meeting to discuss the need to improve American infrastructure that the United States must improve its game in the face of China’s challenge. The warning about China and Democratic plans to include a minimum wage increase to $ 15 in a $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package showed that headwinds could be picking up, said Ed Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA at New York. “The markets are starting to get a little nervous about the relations between the West and China,” Moya said. Biden’s first call on Wednesday night with Chinese President Xi Jinping “resurfaced all the difficulties that we are going to face this year in addition to the pandemic,” he said. Also, Democrats are not lining up when it comes to the minimum wage, he said. “This is lengthening the stimulus talks.” Mastercard (NYSE 🙂 rose after the credit card company said it planned to offer support for some cryptocurrencies on its network this year, joining a number of expensive firms that have pledged similar support. Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE 🙂 was up about 1.0% after saying it had formed a new unit to help clients hold, transfer and issue digital assets, sending more than 8% to an all-time high of $ 48,481. The number of Americans who filed new claims for unemployment benefits was 793,000 last week, compared with 812,000 the previous week, but they are well below the record of 6.867 million reported last March when the pandemic hit the United States. . Major Wall Street indices have hit record highs recently on prospects for the $ 1.9 trillion aid bill aimed at reviving the US economy, while a largely better-than-expected earnings season has also strengthened investor confidence. Analysts now expect fourth-quarter earnings for S&P 500 firms to grow 3%, compared with a 10.3% drop forecast in early January, according to Refinitiv data. “There is room for the market to take a breather, but usually there is some kind of catalyst that sets it going,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments in Atlanta. At 2:29 p.m. ET, it fell 107.87 points, or 0.34%, to 31,329.93, the S&P 500 lost 7.03 points, or 0.18%, to 3,902.85 and fell 8.75 points, or 0.06%, to 13,963.79. The technology sector and semiconductors reached record levels, while energy and industry linked to the economy took a back seat after being in the spotlight this year. Shares of US-listed cannabis companies, including Tilray (NASDAQ 🙂 and Aphria (NASDAQ :), reversed pre-market earnings to fall 42% and 20% after the sector caught the attention of Reddit-inspired retail investors this week. Walt Disney (NYSE 🙂 Co was almost flat ahead of its results after the market close. Pinterest (NYSE 🙂 Inc rose 7.1% after a report said Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ 🙂 approached the image-sharing company in recent months about a possible purchase. However, the negotiations were not currently active, according to the report. The downside issues outnumbered those moving up on the NYSE by 1.46 to 1; on the Nasdaq, a 1.61-to-1 ratio favored declines. The S&P 500 posted 38 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 265 new highs and seven new lows.