US stocks end lower for 2nd straight session

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Wall Street's main stock indexes ended slightly lower on Tuesday (December 10) as investors awaited concrete news on whether US tariffs on Chinese imports would take effect on Dec. 15.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Dec 5, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks ended modestly lower for a second straight session on Tuesday (Dec 10) as investors weighed conflicting signals on US-China trade talks.

Investors are fixating on a plan for the US to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods on Dec 15 as Washington and Beijing haggle over a trade deal.

Stocks rose early on Tuesday on a Wall Street Journal report that signaled a likely delay in the next round of duties, but pulled back after White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said tariffs were still on the table.

"We continue to have this he said/she said on trade," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities.

"This makes it impossible to try to navigate and that is why the market has decided not to take anything for granted."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day at 27,881.72, down 0.1 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 also dropped 0.1 per cent to 3,132.52, along with the Nasdaq Composite Index, which finished at 8,616.18.

The US-China situation has overshadowed other trade issues, including progress on a new deal involving the US, Canada and Mexico.

Negotiators from the three countries signed a deal Tuesday in Mexico City with changes to the new regional trade agreement, paving the way to ratification after months of arduous negotiations.

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Besides trade, markets are also awaiting a Federal Reserve decision Wednesday, and a British election Thursday that could move the country closer to exiting the European Union.

Meanwhile, House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled two impeachment charges against US President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

Most analysts say the case is not moving the market significantly because the Senate is unlikely to remove Trump from office, although a note from Charles Schwab cited impeachment as a headwind for equities on Tuesday.

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