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Geopolitical uncertainty drags US markets lower on Tuesday

The US markets ended lower on Tuesday, with major indices turning decisively negative in afternoon trading and ending near their lows of the day as uncertainty over trade policy and other geopolitical issues remained high. Optimism over trade had spurred a stock rally in Monday's session, after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the Trump administration would put the trade war on hold while working out details of a deal between the countries. Trump's comments seemed to offset Mnuchin's view, as he was asked if he is happy with how U.S.-China trade talks were going, President Donald Trump said, not really, and said negotiations have a long way to go. Other geopolitical tensions also continued to hover in the background, with uncertainty over a historic meeting between Trump and North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un. Vice President Mike Pence warned in an interview late Monday that North Korea cannot play Trump where nuclear disarmament is concerned. On Tuesday, Trump said a planned summit with Un may happen later than currently scheduled. Meanwhile, laying out new demands for Iran on Monday, the White House said any new nuclear deal with the U.S. would require Iran to stop enriching uranium and to pull its support for militant groups in the Middle East. The demands were met by immediate rejection from Iran.

The Nasdaq surged 15.58 points or 0.21 percent to 7,378.46, the S&P 500 jumped 8.57 points or 0.31 percent to 2,724.44 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down by 178.88 points or 0.72% to 24,834.41.

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