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US markets extend southward journey for third straight day

Extending southward journey for third straight day, Indian equity benchmarks ended the session sharply lower on Friday. Lingering trade war concerns dampened sentiments, as China said it would impose tariffs on up to $3 billion worth of U.S. goods in retaliation for the tariffs announced by President Donald Trump. Traders were also digesting a mixed batch of U.S. economic data, with separate reports from the Commerce Department showing a jump in durable goods orders but a drop in new home sales. The Commerce Department said durable goods orders increased 3.1 percent in February after declining by 3.5 percent in January. The street had expected durable goods orders to increase by 1.5 percent. Excluding a spike in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders still climbed by 1.2 percent in February after edging down by 0.2 percent in January. Ex-transportation orders had been expected to rise by 0.5 percent.

Separately, a report said new home sales fell by 0.6 percent to an annual rate of 618,000 in February from an upwardly revised 622,000 in January. The street had expected new home sales to rise to a rate of 623,000 from the 593,000 originally reported for the previous month. Traders also kept an eye on developments in Washington, where President Donald Trump signed a $1.3 trillion government spending bill after previously indicating he was considering vetoing the legislation. Trump said he signed the spending bill as 'a matter of national security' even though he was not happy with some of the elements of the legislation. Trump said he was disappointed in the size of the bill, which funds the government through September 30th and prevents a government shutdown.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 424.69 points or 1.77 percent to 23,533.20, the Nasdaq dropped 174.01 points or 2.43 percent to 6,992.67, while the S&P 500 was down by 55.43 points or 2.10 percent to 2,588.26.

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