Global stocks fall, gold and yen rise amid political uncertainty

Thu May 11, 2017 4:31pm EDT
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By Dion Rabouin

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. and European stocks fell on Thursday, along with the U.S. dollar, while U.S. Treasury yields reversed earlier declines, as political uncertainty in the United States and weak retail sector earnings reports sent investors in search of safer investments like gold and the Japanese yen.

Investors were concerned about developments relating to the firing of FBI Director James Comey late on Tuesday by U.S. President Donald Trump.

White House officials told Reuters Trump's decision had been building for months, but a turning point came when Comey refused to preview for top Trump officials his planned testimony to a Senate panel, a decision considered an act of insubordination by Trump and his aides.

"The market has continued to get a little bit ahead of itself and it’s just looking for any sort of a reason to have a pullback," said Catherine Avery, president of Catherine Avery Investment Management in New Canaan, Connecticut.

"Part of it is worry (that) the distraction that we’ve had with Comey is going to take (lawmakers') eyes off the tax reform and health care reform."

U.S. stocks trimmed losses, but the benchmark S&P 500 still posted its largest one-day percentage fall in four weeks.

A disappointing profit report by Macy's and ensuing 17-percent drop in its shares took a toll on the U.S. consumer discretionary sector, which fell 0.6 percent.

Investors will be watching April retail sales data due out on Friday for signs of whether consumers are shifting their spending away from department stores or just aren't spending.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid