North American stocks end lower despite promising start to the trading day

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The US has already levied tariffs of 25 percent on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, mainly industrial products, plus a tariff of 10 percent on another $200 billion worth of imports imposed in September that is set to rise to 25 percent at the start of next year. Italy's FTSE MIB index rose 1.9% after Standard & Poor's did not downgrade its credit rating.

Among industrials, Boeing sank 6.6% to $335.59. Wall Street was poised for an optimistic open. The S&P 500 index swung by almost 4 percent from its high to the low in the trading session, with tech stocks and Boeing particularly hard hit. The trade fight between the US and China has hurt sales, and that slowdown is one of several factors that have damaged auto company stocks this year.

Stocks erased gains partly on concern about an escalating trade war between the world's two largest economies.

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The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slipped 6.51 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,447.31. Hong Kong's Hang Seng bucked the trend, slipping 0.4 percent to 24,707.78. Shares were higher in Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand but fell in Singapore.

Trump has already imposed tariffs on $250bn worth of Chinese goods, and China responded with retaliatory duties on $110bn worth of USA goods.

A senior Chinese diplomatic source said on Tuesday that the two presidents had "agreed to meet" on the sidelines of the G20 in Buenos Aires, but would not offer details on the agenda of those discussions. Vehicle companies rose after Bloomberg News reported that regulators in China intend to propose cutting the tax on imported cars to 5 percent from 10 percent. Separately, the Commerce Department imposed restrictions on technology exports to Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co., a state-supported Chinese semiconductor maker. The yuan had declined to 6.9644 per dollar by midday on Monday, the lowest level since May 2008.

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Over the past year, said Cui, "we have heard enough of trade war threats, assertions about strategic rivalry, sabre rattling in the South China Sea, and even unfounded accusations against Chinese students and scholars". The trade fight between the US and China has hurt sales, and that slowdown is one of several factors that have damaged vehicle company stocks this year.Ford climbed 3.3 percent to $9.28 and auto parts retailer BorgWarner advanced 4 percent to $39.56.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 71 cents to $66.33 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The December crude contract was down 55 cents at US$67.04 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was down 2.7 cents at US$3.20 per mmBTU.

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