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US markets end marginally lower on trade worries

Snapping three-day gaining streak, the US markets closed marginally lower on Thursday as investors concerned about the approaching trade negotiation meeting between the US and China on December 01. Further, sentiments were also downbeat following the release of some disappointing economic data, including a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) unexpectedly showing a substantial decrease in pending home sales in the month of October. The NAR said its pending home sales index plunged by 2.6% to 102.1 in October after climbing by 0.7% to an upwardly revised 104.8 in September. With the steep drop, the index fell to its lowest level since mid-2014. The sharp pullback surprised participants, who had expected pending home sales to rise by 0.5%, matching the increase originally reported for the previous month.

The Labor Department released a report showing initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose to a six-month high in the week ended November 24. The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 234,000, an increase of 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 224,000. Street had expected jobless claims to edge down to 220,000. Meanwhile, the Fed minutes from the central bank's November meeting showed that almost every member of the Federal Open Market Committee felt comfortable with raising interest rates fairly soon as long as job market and inflation data were in line with expectations, bolstering expectations of another rate hike in December.

Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 27.59 points or 0.11 percent to 25338.84, S&P 500 lost 6.03 points or 0.22 percent to 2737.76 and Nasdaq was down by 18.51 points or 0.25 percent to 7273.08.

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