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US markets end mostly higher as investors gear up for new earnings season

The US markets ended mostly higher on Monday as investors geared up for a new earnings season. Financial giants JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) due to report their quarterly results before the start of trading on Friday. However, upside remain capped on the heels of recent strength, with the major averages pulling back following the notable upward move seen last week.  Lingering concerns about a slowdown in the pace of global economic growth inspired traders to cash in on the recent gains. Meanwhile, investors were also awaiting concrete progress on US-China trade negotiations which will be symbolically concluded with a meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

On the economic front, new orders for US manufactured goods fell by slightly less than expected in the month of February, according to a report released by the Commerce Department. The report said factory orders dropped by 0.5% in February after coming in virtually unchanged in January. Street had expected orders to slide by 0.6%. The decrease in factory orders came as orders for durable goods tumbled by 1.6%, more than offsetting a 0.6% increase in orders for non-durable goods. Excluding a 4.5% nosedive in orders for transportation equipment, factory orders rose by 0.3% in February after edging down by 0.1% in January. The Commerce Department also said shipments of manufactured goods rose by 0.4% in February after slipping by 0.3% in the previous month.

Nasdaq gained 15.19 points or 0.19 percent to 7953.88 and S&P 500 was up by 3.03 points or 0.10 percent to 2895.77, while Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 83.97 points or 0.32 percent to 26341.02.

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