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The main US equities gauge did something this week that investors may have forgotten was possible: it closed in the red.

The S&P 500 notched a weekly decline of 0.4 per cent, marking the first decline since the week of January 20.

The real estate sector was the worst performer on the benchmark index, sliding 3.6 per cent. Groups in the industry are seen as sensitive to interest rates, since the stocks typically pay juicy dividends and because demand for real estate tends to be pressured by higher lending costs.

Energy shares also struggled, with the sector dropping by 2.7 per cent.

US crude oil tumbled 9.1 per cent on the week, settling at $48.49. Investors have grown increasingly concerned over rising US inventories, which hit a record high last week.

Looking at other US stock indices, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.5 per cent this week, while the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.2 per cent.

Investors were also awaiting next week’s Federal Reserve meeting. The central bank is expected to make its third increase to the federal funds rate since the end of the financial crisis. An upbeat reading on the labour market that was released on Friday helped to cement that sentiment.

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