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Russell 2000 falls hard amid down day for US markets

Investors still don't know what to make of US-China trade talks
Traders on exchange floor
An inflated US trade deficit spooked investors

The Russell 2000 swooned today as more than half its stocks hit new fve-day lows. The small-cap-tracking index closed down 1.9% to 1,539.2, outpacing losses on Wall Street Wednesday.

The result marks a three-day losing streak for US markets as investors remained wary over the lack of resolution to trade talks between the US and China as well as a growing trade deficit.

Other US markets saw more moderate declines. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.5% to 25,673.5, the S&P 500 fell 0.7% to close at 2,771.5 and the Nasdaq ended the day down 0.9% to 7,505.9.  

In Toronto, the TSX/S&P Composite was flattish, wrapping up less than 0.1% ahead to 16,092.1.

1:29 pm: US equities fall as trade deficit hits 10-year high

US Markets dropped Wednesday afternoon after new data showed the US trade deficit reached its highest point in a decade. The deficit swelled to $59.8 billion in December, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, well above November's $50.3 billion figure. 

On the back of the deficit news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5% to 25,673.8, the S&P 500 declined 0.7% to 2,771.2 and the Nasdaq tumbled 0.8% to 7,513.5.

The small-cap Russell 2000 index lost 1.3% to 1,538.3.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 closed ahead by nearly 13 points Wednesday at 7,196, up 12.57 points, while FTSE 250 finished in the red, down around 83 at 198,359.

The German DAX shed 33 points at 11,587 and the French CAC 40 lost nearly nine points.

10:15 am: US markets stay flat as US-China trade talks remain in limbo

Wall Street is stuck in molasses Wednesday morning, as markets remained flat amid continued confusion over a potential trade deal between the US and China. 

Talks between China and the US were purportedly in their final stages earlier this week, per a CNBC report, but a lack of concrete developments has investors reluctant to send markets one way or the other.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up less than 0.1% to 25,812.4, while the Nasdaq and S&P 500 declined 0.2% apiece to 7,558.8 and 2,782.5, respectively.

The Russell 2000, which tracks snall-cap stocks, has barely moved, down 1.7 points to 1,566.7.

Toronto is similarly stagnant, as the S&P/TSX composite advanced 0.2% to 16,113.4.

European markets have ticked up and they head into their close. The London FTSE is 0.1% ahead to 7,192.9, the French CAC gained 0.2% to 5,308.6 and the German DAX has done best, up 0.3% to 25.8.

7:35 am: Wall Street shares set to continue decline; European indices mixed

US stocks are set to start the midweek session in the red, taking the cue from Asian shares, which fell overnight.

Meanwhile, indices in Europe are mixed.

Wall Street took a hit Tuesday but not a battering, as uncertainty over trade talks with China continued to weigh on sentiment.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he believed the two nations were “on the cusp” of a deal, but markets have yet to demonstrate similar optimism.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down around 13 at 25,806. The Nasdaq closed down around one point and the S&P 500 finished off around three.

In contrast, up in Toronto, the TSX added around 48 points at 16,086. The venture exchange also nudged up 0.68 points.

In US futures trade Wednesday, the Dow Jones added 39 points, while the Nasdaq shed nearly five points. The S&P 500 futures added nearly four points.

In London, the FTSE 100 is up around 15 at 7,198, while the German DAX and French CAC 40 are lower.

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 plunged over 129 points at 21,596, while the Asia Dow shed nearly 2.5 points at 3,389.

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