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US markets end marginally higher on Tuesday

The US markets ended marginally higher on Tuesday as another round of US-China trade talks began in Washington. President Donald Trump said the US-China trade talks are going very well and once again hinted that an early March deadline to reach a deal could be postponed. Trump said 'I cannot tell you exactly about timing, but the date is not a magical date.' He claimed China is trying to move fast so that an increase in tariffs on Chinese goods currently set to take effect does not happen. Further, some support also came in after upbeat earnings sent shares of retail giant Walmart higher. However, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Tuesday as traders returned to their desks following the long holiday weekend.

On the economic front, reflecting growing consumer confidence and falling interest rates, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released a report showing a significant increase in US homebuilder confidence in the month of February. The report said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index climbed to 62 in February after rising to 58 in January. Street had expected the index to inch up to 59. With the increase, the index continued to recover after hitting a more than three-year low of 56 in December. NAHB Chairman Randy Noel said ongoing reduction in mortgage rates in recent weeks coupled with continued strength in the job market are helping to fuel builder sentiment. He added in the aftermath of the fall slowdown, many builders are reporting positive expectations for the spring selling season.

Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 8.07 points or 0.03 percent to 25891.32, Nasdaq added 14.36 points or 0.19 percent to 7486.77 and S&P 500 was up by 4.16 points or 0.15 percent to 2779.76.

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