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US: Stocks dip amid trade, impeachment headlines

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks declined on Thursday as investors weighed somewhat better news on US-China trade talks against new revelations in the impeachment probe of President Trump.

The Commerce Ministry in Beijing said Chinese companies bought a "considerable" amount of American pork and soybeans, suggesting progress in the grinding US-China trade war. Upbeat comments from Trump on the China talks lifted US stocks on Wednesday.

But Washington was captivated by an incendiary whistleblower complaint alleging Mr Trump sought to enlist Ukraine to help his presidential campaign and then conspired with staff to cover it up.

Karl Haeling of LBBW said the market's response to the whistleblower complaint suggested the risk of impeachment could be somewhat higher than initially thought, but added that the modest losses showed markets remained "stable."

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Some analysts have described the market's approach to the Ukraine case as wait-and-see.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.3 per cent at 26,891.12.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.2 per cent to close at 2,977.62, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.6 per cent to 8,030.66.

Beyond Meat surged 11.6 per cent as McDonald's announced it would launch a 12-week test in Canada of a new plant-based patty made by Beyond Meat. McDonald's shares ended flat.

Carnival slumped 8.5 per cent as the cruise company trimmed its full-year profit forecast due to higher fuel costs. The company also cited weather-related voyage disruptions and tensions in the Arabian Gulf as factors in the weaker outlook.

In its market debut, Peloton Interactive slid 11.2 per cent, a decline viewed by some analysts as evidence the IPO market is cooling.

AFP