Finance Finance News US stocks down as Brexit looms
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US stocks down as Brexit looms

European leaders are demanding Britain pay billions of dollars to walk away from Europe. Photo Getty
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Australian shares shrugged off US concerns in the run-up to the vote to decide whether the UK will remain in the European Union, with the ASX 200 index up 0.4 per cent to 5292.7 points.

Stocks in the United States edged lower in overnight trading, with investors remaining cautious ahead of Britain’s referendum on staying in or leaving the European Union.

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Shares rose early into Wall Street’s session, after figures revealed sales of existing homes in the US rose in May, to their highest level in more than nine years.

The National Association of Realtors published data showing a 1.8 per cent increase in sales to an annual rate of 5.53 million last month.

That was the strongest result since February 2007 and beat analysts’ expectations of a 1.1 per cent rise.

Investors were also closely watching Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s second day of testimony to the US Congress.

She continued to play down the risk of a recession in the United States, but said the British referendum and a slow-down in hiring within the US posed some threats to the economic outlook.

By the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had lost 0.27 per cent to 17,780.

The S&P 500 Index fell 3.45 points to 2,085 and the Nasdaq finished the session 0.22 per cent lower at 4,833.

European markets fared better, with reasonable gains across the major indices.

In London, the FTSE 100 Index closed 0.56 per cent lower at 6,261.

At the same time, the Australian dollar was worth 75 US cents, having rallied overnight.

West Texas Crude oil had increased slightly to $US49.11 a barrel, Tapis had fallen to $US50.42 a barrel, and spot gold had eased to $US1,266.01 an ounce.

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