US Indexes Mixed to Lower Ahead of Closing Bell as Global Geopolitical Concerns, Economic Data Weigh

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US stocks were in mixed to lower ahead of Thursday's closing bell, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average logging modest gains while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq slipped into negative territory. Market sentiment was weighed by geopolitical concerns and economic data releases around the world, including developments on Brexit from the UK, weak economic data from China, and uncertainty over the US-China trade deal.

Bloomberg had reported that the much-awaited meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be delayed until at least April, dashing hopes for a trade agreement between the two countries by the end of March. The news comes a day after Trump told reporters in the White House he was in no rush to finalize a trade deal with China.

Data out of the second largest economy was also lackluster: China's February industrial production increased by 0.43% month-over-month, below expectations for an increase of 0.54%.

In other news abroad, UK lawmakers will now hold a vote for a proposal to request an extension of the scheduled Brexit beyond March 29, after they had voted for a no-deal exit from the European Union on Wednesday afternoon.

Back home, initial unemployment claims rose to 229,000 vs. expectations of 225,000. Import prices rose 0.6% while export prices also rose 0.6%, in February after falling in the previous month. New home sales fell 6.9% to 607,000 in January, versus the 612,000 expected, the Commerce Department said.

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