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US close: Mixed performance on the Street following confliction US-Sino trade news

By Iain Gilbert

Date: Tuesday 19 Mar 2019

US close: Mixed performance on the Street following confliction US-Sino trade news

(Sharecast News) - Wall Street trading wrapped up on a mixed note on Tuesday as investors eyed the start of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting and digested conflicting trade reports.
At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.10% at 25,887.38, while the S&P 500 was 0.01% weaker at 2,832.57. The Nasdaq Composite was 0.12% firmer at 7,723.95.

The Dow closed 26 points lower on Tuesday, ending in its winning streak at four days as Federal Reserve policymakers convened for a two-day policy meeting.

Although no change in rates is expected, investors will keep a close eye on Wednesday's policy statement, with remarks from chairman Jerome Powell at his news conference being of particular note.

The Fed is widely expected to maintain the tone it adopted back in January when it abruptly put its rate-hike plan on pause.

James Hughes, chief market analyst at Axi Trader, said: "Optimism that the Federal Reserve will maintain its cautious tone over monetary policy and possibly provide further clarity over the timing of any move in interest rates is lending support, although markets do seem to be looking for that Goldilocks zone once again."

In US-Sino trade news, Bloomberg reported that China was pushing back against demands from the US for concessions in bilateral talks, but the Wall Street Journal claimed the pair were in the final stages of negotiations, with US representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin scheduled to fly to Beijing next week.

In a further boost to sentiment, overnight the US Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, told Bloomberg TV that China might triple its purchases of US farm goods as part of any trade agreement.

Elsewhere on the macro front, new orders for US-made goods rose less than expected in January, while shipments fell for a fourth straight month, offering more evidence of a slowdown in manufacturing activity.

Factory goods orders edged up just 0.1%, according to the Commerce Department, held back by decreases in orders for computers and electronic products, after rising by the same margin in December.

In corporate news, delivery company FedEx shares slipped 0.54% after reporting earnings, while Altimmune shares surged 14.88% in the session after the company reported additional positive data from its flu treatment and said it was seeking development and commercialisation partnerships.

Retailer Michaels Cos was up 8.48% after it posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and revenue, although its outlook for this year was disappointing.

Discount footwear retailer DSW sunk 12.89% in early trade after its full-year adjusted profit fell short of analysts' expectations.

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