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US: Stocks close lower again amid trade war jitters

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks fell again Thursday amid trade war jitters as investors weighed the latest back and forth ahead of key US-China negotiations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 0.5 per cent lower at 25,828.36.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.3 per cent to close at 2,870.72, its fourth straight decline, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.4 per cent to 7,910.59.

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US indices have pulled back from last week's records as the latest volleys between US President Donald Trump and Chinese officials have dimmed the chances of a big trade deal this week and instead raised worries about new tariffs set to take effect in a few hours.

Stocks were down much lower early in the session, but cut their losses at midday after Mr Trump told reporters a deal with China was still possible, even as he indicated he was also happy to impose new tariff measures on Friday.

Among individual companies, Chevron rose 3.2 per cent after announcing it would not raise its bid for Anadarko Petroleum, clearing the way for Occidental Petroleum to purchase the company.

Occidental tumbled 6.4 per cent and Anadarko lost 3.3 per cent.

Dow member Intel plunged 5.3 per cent on disappointment with the company's growth and profit forecasts over the next three years.