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01-Mar2019

US markets settle in red on abrupt end to Trump-Kim summit

The US markets ended lower on Thursday after the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended abruptly without an agreement on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Trump said the North Korean dictator wanted the US to lift all sanctions without having to give up all of his weapons of mass destruction. The president noted that the two sides will continue to work toward an agreement, although the lack of a deal at the summit added to recent uncertainty on Markets. However, indexes posted strong gains in February. Better-than-expected fourth-quarter (Q4) gross domestic product (GDP) data helped to offset some of the selling pressure during the session. The Commerce Department said real GDP climbed by 2.6% in the Q4 compared to the 3.4% jump in the Q3. Street had expected GDP to increase by 2.3%. The bigger than expected increase in GDP came as consumer spending growth slowed but continued to make a strong contribution to the economy. Consumer spending jumped 2.8% in the fourth quarter after surging up by 3.5% in the third quarter.

The report also showed positive contributions from non-residential fixed investment, exports, private inventory investment, and federal government spending. Meanwhile, a report released by the Labor Department showed first-time claims for US unemployment benefits rose by more than expected in the week ended February 23. The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 225,000, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week's revised level of 217,000. Street had expected jobless claims to edge up to 220,000 from the 216,000 originally reported for the previous week. The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average fell to 229,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week's revised average of 236,000.

Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 69.16 points or 0.27 percent to 25916.00, S&P 500 lost 7.89 points or 0.28 percent to 2784.49 and Nasdaq was down by 21.98 points or 0.29 percent to 7532.53.


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