Saturday 24 February 2018

World markets' record highs on pause over Trump and US retail data

US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump

World stock markets paused near record highs yesterday after underwhelming US retail sales data and worries over China's banking system spurred investors to lock in recent profits and pushed US Treasury yields and the dollar lower.

US stocks dipped and were on track to book losses for the week as weak economic data weighed on financial shares. European equities and emerging markets bourses edged higher to balance the global equity ledger.

Concern over risky assets has dominated trading in recent days and sent investors to assets like gold and the Japanese yen after President Donald Trump unexpectedly fired his FBI chief, the potential fallout of which could delay any positive reaction to Trump's proposed pro-growth trade and tax policies.

The benchmark S&P 500 stock index and the Dow edged lower as financial stocks fell, but losses on the Nasdaq were kept in check by a rise in technology shares.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 40.97 points, or 0.2pc, to 20,878.45, the S&P 500 lost 5.91 points, or 0.25pc, to 2,388.53 and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.31 points, or 0.04pc, to 6,118.27.

In Dublin, the Iseq index of Irish shares closed down 0.88pc at 7.034.13

Meanwhile, European stocks advanced after their biggest drop since mid-April, as investors searched for fresh triggers for further gains after political risks in France diminished following the victory of Emmanuel Macron in the presidential election.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.3pc at the close, capping a third consecutive weekly advance.

The benchmark had climbed to a 21-month high before sliding 0.5pc on Thursday after Governor Mark Carney said the Bank of England hadn't modelled for a disorderly Brexit process.

Irish Independent

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