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15-Mar2019

US markets end mostly in red on jitters over trade-deal delay

The US markets ended mostly lower on Thursday on renewed concerns about a potential trade deal between the US and China. A meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be delayed until at least April indicating that a bilateral trade deal will not be finalized this month. The report comes after Trump said on Wednesday that he was in no rush to strike a trade agreement and there remained the possibility that he could walk away, even as he expressed optimism about progress in talks. Besides, uncertainty about Brexit also kept traders on the sidelines, with members of parliament voting in favor of delaying Brexit after they rejected the idea of leaving the European Union without a deal. Meanwhile, disappointing industrial output from China also provided more signs that the world's second-largest economy has continued to decelerate, heightening anxieties about sluggish global growth.

On the economic front, after reporting a notable rebound in new home sales over the two previous months, the Commerce Department released a report showing a substantial pullback in US new home sales in the month of January. The Commerce Department said new home sales plunged by 6.9% to an annual rate of 607,000 in January from a revised rate of 652,000 in December. Street had expected new home sales to edge down to a rate of 620,000 from the 621,000 originally reported for the previous month. Meanwhile, first-time claims for US unemployment benefits increased by more than expected in the week ended March 9, according to a report released by the Labor Department. The report said initial jobless claims rose to 229,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 223,000. Street had expected jobless claims to edge up to 225,000. Besides, a report released by the Labor Department showed US import and export prices both rose by more than anticipated in the month of February. The Labor Department said import prices climbed by 0.6% in February after inching up by a revised 0.1% in January. Street had expected import prices to rise by 0.3% compared to the 0.5% drop originally reported for the previous month.

Nasdaq dropped 12.49 points or 0.16 percent to 7630.91 and S&P 500 was down by 2.44 points or 0.09 percent to 2808.48, while Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 7.05 points or 0.03 percent to 25709.94.


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