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14-Dec2018

US markets end mostly lower on trade jitters

The US markets ended mostly in red on Thursday as investors continued to worry over the lack of clarity and progress in US-China trade talks. The perception of progress was tempered that China arrested a second Canadian national in apparent retaliation for Meng's arrest, while reports surfaced that Trump's aides were warning the president that his authority to intervene in the affair is limited. Besides, there was some cautiousness in the markets as President Donald Trump again criticized the Federal Reserve's effort to normalize monetary policy. However, the Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out gains, led by Procter & Gamble and McDonald's.

On the economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing a much steeper than expected drop in initial jobless claims in the week ended December 8. The report said initial jobless claims fell to 206,000, a decrease of 27,000 from the previous week's revised level of 233,000. Street had expected jobless claims to slip to 225,000. Jobless claims pulled back further off the nearly eight-month high reached two weeks ago to hit their lowest level in almost three months. Meanwhile, a separate report from the Labor Department showed import prices plunged by much more than expected in the month of November amid a steep drop in fuel prices. The report said import prices plummeted by 1.6 percent in November after climbing by 0.5 percent in October. Street had expected import prices to slump by 0.9 percent.

S&P 500 lost 0.53 points or 0.02 percent to 2650.54 and Nasdaq was down by 27.98 points or 0.39 percent to 7070.33, while Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 70.11 points or 0.29 percent to 24597.38.


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