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Wall Street closes flattens after postponed trade talks, disheartening home sales data

New home sales dropped 6.9% in January, signaling the impact of the government shutdown on the economy
New York skyline
New York trading couldn't get off the ground Thursday

US markets were flat Thursday, teetering up and down most of the day on news from Bloomberg that President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are delaying a trade meeting until at least April.

New home sales dropped 6.9% in January, a possible sign of the government shutdown’s impact on the economy.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) saw a big drop, falling 1.8% to $170.17 after The New York Times broke Wednesday night that the company was subject to a criminal investigation for way it handled users’ data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 7 points at 25,709.9, the Nasdaq slipped 0.2% to end at 7,630.9 and the S&P 500 lost just 2.4 points, settling at 2,808.5. 

The small-cap Russell 2000 index ended the day down 0.3% at 1,551.5. 

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX finished 0.4% behind at 16,087.6.

1:20 pm: Wall Street flattens amid postponed trade talks, disheartening home sales data

US markets were flat Thursday afternoon after a trade meeting between President Trump and Chinese President XI Jinping was pushed back. The meeting isn’t expected to occur until at least April.

Also out of China, the country's industrial sector grew just 5.3% in January and February, the weakest growth in 17 years.

In the US, new home sales fell 6.9% in January.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down nearly 5 points to 25,697.9, the Nasdaq grew 1 point to 7,644.4 and the S&P 500 slipped 1 point to 2,809.8.

The Russell 2000, which tracks small-cap stocks, lost 0.4 points to 1,555.4.

In Canada, the S&P/TSX Composite dropped 0.3% to 16,097.2.

In Europe, the London FTSE closed up 0.4% at 7,185.3, and the French CAC finished 0.8% higher at 5,349.8.

10:35 am: US markets dragging on falling home sales 

US markets slowed slightly after the bell, and Wall Street could be on pace for a negative day after a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will reportedly be postponed.

The trade meeting is expected to be pushed back until at least April, Bloomberg reported Thursday. On Wednesday, Trump said he was in “no rush” to find a deal.

Making matters worse, US new home sales fell 6.9% in January, the Commerce Department announced Thursday, perhaps signaling the government shutdown hampered buying.

China’s industrial sector is also struggling, growing just 5.3% in January and February, the slowest growth in 17 years.

The Dow industrials opened down 0.1% to 25,666.8, the Nasdaq fell 0.2% to 7,629.4 and the S&P 500 dropped 0.1% to 2,807.6.

The small-cap Russell 2000 index was flatish, down less than a point to 1,550.4.

In Toronto, the S&P/TMX Composite Index slipped 0.2% to 16,113.4.

In Europe, markets are up despite ongoing Brexit chaos. The London FTSE was up 0.5% to 7,193.9, the French CAC gained 0.6% to 5,340.5 and the German DAX ticked down less than 0.1% to 25.61.

7:55 am: US stocks set to see red after S&P 500 reaches yearly high on Wednesday

US shares are set to see red at the open after stocks fell in Asia and as traders await more earnings.

In Europe at the time of writing, stocks are mixed as the Brexit fallout continues to dominate headlines.

Official data out of China showed output from its industrial sector grew by just 5.3% in January and February this year - the weakest growth in 17 years - compounding fears that the world's second biggest economy is struggling, not least amid the trade war with the US.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan shed around three points to close at 21,287, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost around 36 points to 2,990.

On Wall Street yesterday, stocks rose with the S&P 500 hitting a 2019 high. The index closed around 19 points higher at 2,810, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added around 52 at 7,643. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished ahead by around 148 at 25,702.

Markets were also buoyed by data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that nondefense durable goods orders grew by 0.8% in January, the highest in six months.

In the UK, FTSE 100 is ahead by around 38 points at 7,198 at the time of writing. The German DAX is off around 0.07 while the French CAC 40 is up nearly 29.

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