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Jitters Over Trump Keep Weigh on Global Stock Markets

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 15 cents to $54.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange
By The News · 02 of February 2017 08:43:25
A man looks at an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo, A man looks at an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi), photo: AP/Shizuo Kambayashi

Global stock markets were uneven Thursday as investors shied away from riskier assets amid renewed concerns over U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was flat at 11,663 while the CAC 40 in France rose 0.2 percent to 4,805. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.6 percent higher at 7,153. U.S. stocks were heading for a soft open, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.2 percent.

TRUMP TURBULENCE: Investors were rattled by the latest news from the Trump administration, including a phone call in which he warned Mexico’s president he might send in troops and another about a tense exchange with Australia’s leader over refugees. Following the Trump rally in the wake of his election victory last November, stock gains appear to be petering out with investors getting jittery in light of Trump’s dramatic policy announcements since taking office.

MARKET VIEW: “Trump’s presidency comes with greater than normal risks,” Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors in Sydney, said in a report. Eventually, he said “pragmatic pro-growth policies are likely to ultimately dominate populist policies.” However, Oliver added that “the Trump honeymoon with investors is likely over with a short term period of correction/volatility likely to continue in shares, bond yields and the U.S. dollar.”

CENTRAL BANKING: On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve left interest rates on hold after its latest policy meeting — as investors had expected. Policymakers signaled that they still expect to gradually raise rates but gave no clear timeline. Meanwhile, the Bank of England kept its main interest rate on hold at a record low of 0.25 percent on Thursday but revised up its growth forecasts for the British economy, which has held up better than many forecasters predicted in the aftermath of last June’s vote to leave the European Union.

DEUTSCHE DOWN AGAIN: Germany’s biggest lender, Deutsche Bank, saw its share price fall by around 5 percent after the company posted another hefty loss in 2016. The bank reported a loss of 1.4 billion euros ($1.5 billion) for all of 2016. Much of that loss was due to a fourth-quarter deficit of 1.89 billion euros largely related to the sale of its Abbey Life unit and costs associated with legal fines and penalties.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 1.2 percent to 18,914.58 as the stronger yen weighed on exporters, while South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.5 percent to 2,071.01. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.6 percent to 23,184.52 and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged 0.1 percent lower to 5,645.40. Markets in mainland China were closed for the final day of a weeklong holiday.

CURRENCIES: The euro rose 0.3 percent to $1.0810 while the dollar fell 0.6 percent to 112.36 yen.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 15 cents to $54.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, advanced 38 cents to $57.18 a barrel in London.