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Trade Concerns May Lead to Continued Choppy Trading on Wall Street

By Investors Hub

The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a roughly flat opening on Thursday, with stocks likely to continue to experience choppy trading following the lackluster performance in the previous session.

Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves amid renewed concerns after the U.S. imposed tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese goods, leading to a tit-for-tat retaliation by the Asian nation.

After the U.S. imposed an additional 25 percent in duties on Chinese imports ranging from motorcycles to steam turbines and railway cars, China’s Ministry of Commerce said it would lodge a complaint against the measure under the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement mechanism.

Stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Wednesday before ending the day mixed. While the tech-heavy Nasdaq moved to the upside, the Dow and the S&P 500 both closed in negative territory.

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The Nasdaq rose 29.92 points or 0.4 percent to 7,889.10, but the Dow fell 88.69 points or 0.3 percent to 25,773.60 and the S&P 500 edged down 1.14 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,861.82.

The mixed close on Wall Street came following the Federal Reserve?s release of the minutes of its latest monetary policy meeting.

In their discussion of the economic situation and the outlook, meeting participants agreed that information received since the FOMC met in June indicated that the labor market had continued to strengthen and that economic activity had been rising at a strong rate. Job

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Many participants suggested that if incoming data continued to support their current economic outlook, it would likely soon be appropriate to take another step in removing policy accommodation.

Participants generally expected that further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate would be consistent with a sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective over the medium term.

On the U.S. economic front, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing an unexpected drop in existing home sales in the month of July.

NAR said existing home sales dropped by 0.7 percent to an annual rate of 5.34 million in July after falling by 0.6 percent to a rate of 5.38 million in June.

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The continued decrease in existing home sales came as a surprise to economists, who had expected existing home sales to climb by 0.6 percent.

“Led by a notable decrease in closings in the Northeast, existing home sales trailed off again last month, sliding to their slowest pace since February 2016 at 5.21 million,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

He added, “Too many would-be buyers are either being priced out, or are deciding to postpone their search until more homes in their price range come onto the market.”

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Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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