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US stocks end lower after mixed economic reports

NEW YORK, March 26 (Xinhua) — U.S. stocks ended lower on Tuesday as the market’s recovery slowed after mixed economic reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 31.31 points, or 0.08 percent, to 39,282.33. The S&P 500 fell 14.61 points, or 0.28 percent, to 5,203.58, falling for a third straight session. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 68.77 points, or 0.42 percent, to 16,315.7.

Eight of the S&P 500’s 11 major sectors finished in the red, with utilities and energy leading with losses of 1.14 percent and 0.76 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the healthcare and financial sectors were the biggest gainers with increases of 0.34 percent and 0.20 percent, respectively.

Tuesday’s economic data was mixed. Orders for durable goods, ranging from toasters to airplanes intended to last three years or more, rose 1.4% last month, the Commerce Department’s Census Bureau said Tuesday. This increase was accompanied by tentative signs of a recovery in business equipment spending, contributing to a positive outlook for growth in the economy in the first quarter.

However, in March, U.S. consumer confidence fell to its lowest level in three months, recording 104.7, the Conference Board reported Tuesday. This marked a reversal after three straight months of improvement, falling short of expectations and hitting its lowest point in three months.

Markets have already priced in the expectation of three interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve this year, but Richard Clarida, global economic advisor at PIMCO and former Fed vice chair, said in a note Tuesday that if policymakers at the Federal Reserve, as well as their counterparts at the European Central Bank and the Bank of England, implement the rate cuts discussed by senior officials last week, they are unlikely to justify these reductions by downplaying the importance of their 2% inflation target.

“It is likely that these policymakers will not attempt to justify the policy change at that time because they are content with ‘2 percentage points’ as an interim inflation target,” Clarida said. “Rather, we expect them to reiterate that monetary policy is already restrictive and that, therefore, gradual rate reductions in tandem with lower inflation are just one way to prevent a policy of become even more restrictive, given that they project that inflation should fall over time to the 2 percentage point long-term target.

On the corporate side, Boeing Co., which recently announced significant management changes, faces the possibility of a credit downgrade from Moody’s Ratings due to ongoing safety concerns that have had a impact on company production and revenue. Meanwhile, Reddit stock jumped more than 12% on Tuesday and is up more than 30% since its IPO last Thursday. Trump Media & Technology Group, fresh from a merger with a cash-rich shell company, also surged on its first day of trading.

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