U.S. shares edge lower as healthcare vote delayed; oil dips

Thu Mar 23, 2017 4:35pm EDT
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By Sam Forgione

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks inched lower on Thursday after a vote on President Donald Trump's healthcare bill was delayed, casting doubt over the prospects of Trump's pro-growth policies, while European shares rose on bank borrowing and oil prices slipped.

The U.S. House of Representatives delayed a vote on legislation to begin dismantling Obamacare as Trump and leaders in Congress labored to find enough support among fellow Republicans for their version of a new federal healthcare policy, according to a senior House Republican aide. [nL2N1H01GV]

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI closed down 4.72 points, or 0.02 percent, at 20,656.58. The S&P 500 .SPX ended down 2.49 points, or 0.11 percent, at 2,345.96. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC closed down 3.95 points, or 0.07 percent, at 5,817.69.[nZXN0RZ621]

In Europe, equity markets gained as banks took up 233.5 billion euros of four-year loans in the European Central Bank's last targeted longer-term refinancing operation, well above the 125 billion euros expected in a Reuters poll. That suggested banks are keen to stock up on cheap cash in anticipation of a continued rise in lending.

Some investors also said they were upbeat about prospects for European equities despite political risks and that Trump fears were overdone.

Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 ended 0.78 percent higher, at 1,486.95 to notch its biggest daily gain in more than three weeks.

MSCI's all-country world equity index .MIWD00000PUS was last up 0.56 point, or 0.13 percent, at 447.48.

Analysts have warned that losing or delaying Trump's healthcare bill would bruise investors' confidence in Trump's ability to deliver on his promises of tax cuts and infrastructure spending.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., March 21, 2017.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson