Stocks Ended Slightly Lower as Trade Talks in Focus

U.S. stocks ended slightly lower on Thursday, as attention shifted from the possibility of a slower rate-hike path next year to a weekend meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 27.59 points, or 0.11% to 25,338.84. The S&P 500 retreated 5.99 points, or 0.22%, to 2,737.80. The Nasdaq Composite fell 18.51 points, or 0.25%, to 7,273.08.

Oil futures finished higher on Thursday. West Texas Intermediate crude for January delivery rose $1.16, or 2.3%, to settle at $51.45 a barrel. January Brent crude climbed 75 cents, or 1.3%, to $59.51 a barrel.

Federal Reserve officials were firm at their last policy meeting that they expected to increase interest rates in December, but they were much more uncertain about the path of monetary policy in 2019, according to a summary of their discussion released Thursday.

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