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US markets end with marginal losses ahead of Christmas weekend

The US markets ended Friday's trade with marginal cut, as traders largly remained on sidelines ahead of the Christmas weekend. Traders shrugged off the slew of U.S. economic data released, including a Commerce Department report showing a spike in new home sales to a ten-year high in November. The Commerce Department said new home sales surged up by 17.5 percent to an annual rate of 733,000 in November from the revised October rate of 624,000. The street had expected new home sales to drop to 654,000 from the 685,000 originally reported for the previous month. With the unexpected jump, new home sales in November were at their highest annual rate since reaching 778,000 in July of 2007.

Sentiments remained cautious with private report stating that a smaller than expected increase in personal income in the month of November, while personal spending climbed by more than expected. The personal income rose by 0.3 percent in November after climbing by 0.4 percent in October. Economists had expected another 0.4 percent increase. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said personal spending climbed by 0.6 percent in November after edging up by 0.2 percent in October. Spending had been expected to rise by 0.5 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 28.23 points or 0.11 percent to 24,754.06, the Nasdaq shed 5.40 points or 0.08 percent to 6,959.96, and the S&P 500 was down by 1.23 points or 0.05 percent to 2,683.34.

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