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US: Stocks edge lower ending streak of gains

[NEW YORK] After rising the last three sessions, Wall Street fell modestly on Thursday ahead of key US-China trade talks at this weekend's G-20 meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.1 per cent at 25,338.84.

The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 0.2 per cent to 2,737.80, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.3 per cent to 7,273.08.

Major US stock indices had jumped more than two per cent on Wednesday after investors took a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to mean the central bank might not raise interest rates much higher, a shift from earlier statements seen as more hawkish.

Market voices on:

Fed minutes released Thursday showed the US central bank still expected to hike rates again in December.

But policymakers may be divided over what to do after that, with some worried that raising rates after December could "unduly slow" the American economy, just as signs of vulnerability are beginning to gather, the minutes showed.

Markets have been on edge over tariff announcements between the United States and Chia and threats reiterated this week of additional US tariffs on Chinese goods.

US President Donald Trump said Thursday a trade deal with Beijing was "close" but added he might prefer not to reach one, cooling hopes for a breakthrough at a summit this week with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"Uncertainty around the Trump-Xi meeting is probably why we're not up more," Bill Lynch, director of investment at Hinsdale Associates, said shortly before the closing bell on Thursday when stocks were still higher.

Among individual companies, Dollar Tree gained 6.1 per cent after reporting a 17.5 per cent jump in third-quarter profits to US$281.8 million.