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Overnight Markets: US stocks end mixed as US talks tariff exemptions

The Dow was dragged down partly by manufacturer stocks such as Caterpillar and Boeing.

Overnight Markets: US stocks end mixed as US talks tariff exemptions

The S&P 500 and Dow ended slightly lower on Wednesday as investors struggled to get a read on US trade policy following the departure of a key White House economic advisor.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 83 points, or 0.33%, to end at 24,801, the S&P 500 lost one point, or 0.05%, to 2,727 and the Nasdaq Composite added 25 points, or 0.33%, to 7,397.

Shares trimmed earlier losses after the White House appeared to add exceptions to its stated plan to slap import tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum.

Worries about a potential trade war had intensified after free trade supporter Gary Cohn resigned from his position as Trump’s top economic advisor late Tuesday.

The Dow was dragged down partly by manufacturer stocks such as Caterpillar, which fell 1.5%, and Boeing, which ended 0.5% lower.

The S&P energy sector was one of the weakest of the S&P’s 11 sectors with a 0.8% drop as it was also weighed down by a 2% drop in oil prices from data showing a rise in US inventories and output.

Small-capitalisation stocks defied the general weak trend with the Russell 2000 up 12 points, or 0.8%, to 1,575.

The S&P’s technology index was also a bright spot with a 0.6% increase. Its biggest boosts came from a 2.2% increase in Facebook and a 14.9% jump in shares of software supplier Autodesk after its quarterly report.

Shares in H&R Block Inc. jumped 12% after the tax preparer reported late Tuesday a wider-than-expected fiscal-third-quarter 2018 loss but quarterly revenue that came in above expectations.

Urban Outfitters Inc. late Tuesday reported fourth-quarter earnings that took a hit from the new US tax law. The retailer’s stock reversed earlier losses to rise 0.2%.

Autodesk Inc. shares rallied 15% after the company posted fourth-quarter net losses and revenue late Tuesday that beat expectations.

In Asia, markets gained on Thursday in morning trade after sliding in the last session on trade-related fears.

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