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Major US equity indices took a brief pause after last week’s run-up to record high levels and kicked off a new week on a slightly negative note.  

Investors continued to pay close attention to the latest developments on deteriorating trade relations between the world’s two largest economies, especially after the latest round of tariffs on the US/Chinese goods took effect and China cancelled its planned trade talks with the US.

Moreover, investors also seemed reluctant to place any aggressive bullish bets and preferred to wait on the sideline ahead of this week’s key event risk – the highly anticipated FOMC decision, scheduled to be announced on Wednesday.

The central bank is widely expected to announce an interest rate hike and the subsequent press conference will be closely watched for fresh clues over the near-term monetary policy outlook, which might eventually provide some directional impetus for perceived riskier assets – like equities.

During the opening hour of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost nearly 80-points to 26,660 and the broader S&P 500 Index was down by over 8-points to 2,921. Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index underperformed the markets and fell around 39-points to 7,949.