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US markets end mostly lower as trade worries flare up again

The US markets ended mostly lower on Tuesday, on reports that US negotiators are concerned that China is pushing back against American demands. Chinese officials are reportedly indicating that the US has not made sufficient assurances that President Donald Trump's administration will lift tariffs on Chinese goods in exchange for Beijing agreeing to changes in their intellectual property regulations. Besides, investors were also on standby for the Fed's policy decision on Wednesday. No changes in rates are expected, but market participants will focus on remarks by Chairman Jerome Powell at his news conference and policy makers' forecasts of future rate moves.

On the economic front, with a drop in orders for non-durable goods partly offsetting an increase in orders for durable goods, the Commerce Department released a report showing new orders for US manufactured goods edged only slightly higher in the month of January. The Commerce Department said factory orders inched up by 0.1% in January, matching the 0.1% uptick in December. Street had expected orders to rise by 0.3%. The modest increase in factory orders came as durable goods orders rose by 0.3% in January after jumping by 1.3% in December. Orders for transportation equipment showed a substantial increase, surging up by 1.2% in January after soaring by 3.2% in the previous month.

Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 26.72 points or 0.10 percent to 25887.38 and S&P 500 was down by 0.37 points or 0.01 percent to 2832.57, while Nasdaq gained 9.47 points or 0.12 percent to 7723.95.

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