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Overnight Markets: NAFTA concerns halt Wall Street rally

Overnight Markets: NAFTA concerns halt Wall Street rally

Wall Street ended lower on Wednesday after a choppy trading session amid worries over the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the possibility of China slowing down US government bond purchases.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 17 points, or 0.07%, to 25,369, the S&P 500 lost three points, or 0.11%, to 2,748 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 10 points, or 0.14%, to 7,154.

The S&P and the Nasdaq snapped the six-day rally after Bloomberg reported that China, the world's biggest holder of US Treasuries, could slow or stop buying the government bonds. The report sent Treasury yields to a 10-month high.

Stocks declined further in mid-afternoon trading following another report that Canadian officials increasingly expect President Donald Trump as likely to abandon the NAFTA pact.

The S&P financial index was the best performer among the S&P 500's 11 major sectors with a 0.9% rise, helped by gains in Berkshire Hathaway, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo. Berkshire Hathaway rose 1.3% after the conglomerate promoted two top executives, cementing their status as the most likely successors to Warren Buffett.

Rate-sensitive sectors such as utilities and real estate were the biggest losers with declines of 1.1% and 1.5%.

General Motors fell 2.4%, beer and spirits marketer Constellation Brands dropped 1.2% and railroads Kansas City Southern and Canadian Pacific Railway each lost almost 4%.

Dow member General Electric rose 2.0%. Intel, another blue-chip company, continued to drop amid unease over a security vulnerability affecting widely-used computer chips. The firm's shares fell 2.6%.

In Asia, most major indexes declined on Thursday in morning session following the softer lead from Wall Street.

The Nikkei 225 declined 0.33% after the dollar tumbled against the yen in the last session. Over in Seoul, the Kospi edged lower by 0.22%. In Sydney, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.56%.

Greater China markets traded mixed in the early going. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index clung to gains, edging up just 0.05%. Mainland markets were steady, with the Shanghai composite higher by 0.06% and the Shenzhen composite off by 0.18%.

 

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