U.S. stocks end lower, dollar sags as Trump trades ease

Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:48pm EST
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By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street stocks fell and the U.S. dollar dropped to a five-week low on Thursday after President-elect Donald Trump, in his eagerly-awaited news briefing the previous day, failed to provide details on fiscal policies that were expected to bolster the economy.

Investors were hoping for commentary on the new administration's plans for fiscal stimulus and tax cuts. Instead, Trump remarked on a broad range of topics such as the Mexican wall, allegations of Russian hacking and his business interests but left out what investors wanted to hear about - fiscal spending.

Still, market participants were willing to cut Trump some slack with just a week away from his inauguration and by late afternoon, stocks and the dollar trimmed their losses, while U.S. yields came off their lowest levels of the day.

"The positive outlook for the U.S. economy has not changed since November," said Kathy Lien, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management in New York. "American companies are adding jobs, paying more wages and optimism is on the rise."

She added that the market is still waiting for details on Trump's fiscal policies, and said there is no reason to believe he will not deliver on his promise of tax cuts and government spending.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day down 63.28 points, or 0.3 percent, at 19,858.87, while the S&P 500 lost 4.88 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,2270.44. The Nasdaq Composite, on the other hand, dropped 16.16 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,547.49, a day after hitting a record high.

The dollar, meanwhile, hit a five-week trough against a basket of major currencies and was on track for its worst week since November. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major currencies, last traded down 0.4 percent at 101.38. The dollar also slid to a five-week low versus the yen and last traded down 0.7 percent at 114.64 yen.

Trump did not mention tariffs against Chinese exports, a relief for Asian markets fearing the outbreak of a global trade war. But there was more pain for the dollar as the euro drove higher on ECB minutes showing a split over stimulus.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., January 9, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson