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US markets end lower on Wednesday

The US markets ended lower on Wednesday after a US think tank said analysis of new satellite images of activity at a North Korean long-range rocket site suggests Pyongyang may be rapidly rebuilding the test facility that it pledged to dismantle. The Center for Strategic and International Studies said the images were taken two days after the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended without an agreement late last month. The two leaders cut short their discussions after Kim's request for a full withdrawal of sanctions in return for the communist country's willingness to abandon nuclear weapons was rejected. Further, traders also reacted negatively to a report from payroll processor ADP showing US private sector job growth slowed in February after an upwardly revised spike in January. ADP said private sector employment increased by 183,000 jobs in February after soaring by an upwardly revised 300,000 jobs in January. Street had expected employment to climb by 189,000 jobs compared to the addition of 213,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, a separate report from the Commerce Department showed the US trade deficit widened by more than anticipated in December, as imports jumped and exports slumped. The Commerce Department said the trade deficit widened to $59.8 billion in December from a revised $50.3 billion in November. Street had expected the deficit to widen to $57.9 billion. The substantial monthly increase drove the US trade deficit to its highest level since reaching $60.2 billion in October of 2008. The trade deficit for 2018 was also the biggest since 2008, widening to $621.0 billion from $552.3 billion in 2017 as Trump ramped up his trade war with China.

Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 133.17 points or 0.52 percent to 25673.46, S&P 500 declined 18.20 points or 0.65 percent to 2771.45 and Nasdaq was down by 70.44 points or 0.93 percent to 7505.92.

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