S&P 500 slumps 1.8%
US stocks sold off on Wednesday as concerns about fallout from President Trump’s controversial firing of FBI director undermined investor confidence. The dollar tumbled: the live dollar index data show the ICE US Dollar index, a measure of the dollar’s strength against a basket of six rival currencies, closed down 0.85% at 97.372. The S&P 500 lost 1.8% settling at 2357.03 led by financial stocks, down more than 3%. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.8% to 20606.93 weighed by losses in Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan shares, down 5.3% and 3.8%. Nasdaq index slumped 2.6% to 6011.24.
Turmoil in Washington raised doubts about President Trump’s ability to implement tax cuts and regulatory reforms after a New York Times report that Trump in February asked James Comey, then-director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to stop his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Haven assets like US government bonds and gold were bought as investors sold off risky equities in a flight to safety, resulting in a worst session for the stock market since September 9. Investors are concerned how and when President Trump will be able to implement pro-growth policies after some House Republicans called for a further investigation and for the FBI to hand over documents related to communications between Trump and Comey. Today at 14:30 CET initial jobless claims and unemployment claims will be released, as well as Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index for May. The tentative outlook is neutral. At 16:00 CET April Leading Indicators will published, the outlook is neutral. At 16:30 CET natural gas storage change will be released by Energy Information Administration. And at 19:15 CET Fed’s Mester will speak on economy and monetary policy.
Bank shares lead European stocks lower
European stocks retreated on Wednesday after rising tensions surrounding President Trump’s firing of FBI director added uncertainty about president’s ability to push through his pro-growth policies. Both the euro and British Pound extended gains against the dollar. The Stoxx Europe 600 lost 1.2% led by financial stocks. Germany’s DAX 30 ended 1.4% lower at 12631.61, its biggest loss since November. France’s CAC 40 fell 1.6% and UK’s FTSE 100 index lost 0.3% settling at 7503.47.
Bank and construction stocks posted the biggest losses, indexes for both sectors ending lower around 2%. Deutsche Bank shares tumbled 3.5%, Banko Popular Espanol dropped 4.2%, Netherlands’ largest domestic lender ABN Amro sank 4.7% on a lower net interest margin and capital ratio, though the headline net income beat expectations at 615 million euros. Thyssenkrupp was the top STOXX gainer, up 3.1% after Tata Steel agreed the terms of a deal to cut its British pension liabilities, for a deal with Thyssen. Today at 10:30 CET April retail sales will be released in UK, the outlook is positive for the British Pound.
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Asian stocks fall as US political turmoil continues
Asian stock indices are down today as uncertainty increased over President Donald Trump’s ability to deliver on pledged tax cut reform, deregulation and infrastructure spending projects aimed at boosting growth after reports he tried to interfere with a federal investigation. Nikkei ended 1.4% lower at 19553.86 despite a report Japanese GDP growth accelerated to 1.8% annual rate in Q1 from 1.2% in previous quarter. A stronger yen as haven demand jumped hurt exporters while financial stocks were hit due to fall in Treasury yields overnight. Chinese stocks are down despite positive housing price data: Shanghai Composite Index is 0.5% lower and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is down 0.7%. Australia’s All Ordinaries Index is 0.9% lower as the Australian dollar hit the two-week high against the US dollar as unemployment fell unexpectedly in April.
Oil slips on oversupply concerns
Oil futures prices are inching lower today with continued global inventory overhang weighing on price prospects. Prices climbed on Wednesday as the Energy Information Administration reported US crude supplies fell 1.8 million barrels last week, sixth consecutive weekly decline. However, overall supplies remain ample, with Thomson Reuters data showing that US crude exports to Asia have soared from just a handful of tankers per quarter throughout 2015 and 2016, to 10 tankers in the first quarter of this year, a figure expected to rise. At least eight tankers are currently in transit to Asia carrying around 10 million barrels of US crude , as US producers take advantage of favorable prices to ship to the region while OPEC ponders further supply cuts next week. July Brent crude rose 1.1% to $52.21 a barrel on Wednesday on London’s ICE Futures exchange.
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