US stocks head for first two-day slide of month

Investors now waiting for details of Trump’s pro-growth policies

Sterling and the euro both fell on Friday as the dollar rose

Sterling and the euro both fell on Friday as the dollar rose

 

US stocks on Friday afternoon headed for the first two-day slide of the month, while Treasuries advanced as the rally in riskier assets that took equities to records eased. Investors are now awaiting details of the Trump administration’s pro-growth policies.

The SandP 500 index pared a weekly advance that saw it close at records, with commodity producers slipping as oil and metal prices slumped.

The 10-year Treasury note yield slid to 2.42 per cent. French bonds retreated and the euro weakened as political risks weighed on sentiment. The pound headed for the lowest level in a month. US markets are closed Monday for a holiday.

Stocks are pausing a rally as investors go back and forth assessing the prospects for President Donald Trump’s economic plans and the timing of US interest rate increases. In congressional testimony this week, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen warned against waiting too long to tighten policy.

Concerns about France’s future in the euro region in the event of a Marie Le Pen presidency are roiling the country’s assets.

“The softness we’re seeing this morning isn’t surprising given the positive energy we’ve had in the past week,” said Nandini Ramakrishnan, a London-based strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. “Le Pen strength in the polls does mean a weaker euro. We expect the euro to be a first bearer of that brunt.”

Stocks

The SandP 500 fell 0.2 per cent to 2,342.36 at 10:37am in New York, trimming its gain in the week to 1.1 per cent.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.2 percent as energy companies slid 1.4 percent.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.2 per cent, with China stocks traded in Hong Kong paring a weekly gain.

Bonds

Treasuries gained, pushing the yield on benchmark 10-year notes down four basis points to 2.41 per cent.

European government bonds were mixed. French notes fell, with yields on 10-year notes rising two basis points to 1.03 per cent. German bonds gained, with benchmark yields dropping five basis points to 0.3 percent, while gilts advanced following a retail report, driving benchmark yields five basis points lower to 1.21 per cent.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Index erased a 0.2 per cent drop to advance 0.1 per cent. Sterling weakened 0.5 per cent, heading for the weakest closing level in a month, after data showed retail sales unexpectedly fell for a third month in January. The euro weakened 0.2 per cent to $1.0649.

Commodities

The Bloomberg Commodity Index, which measures returns on raw materials, fell 0.6 per cent, heading for its fourth weekly drop in five.

Oil declined 0.5 per cent to $53.11 a barrel. Crude is heading for its first weekly decline in five weeks as expanding US crude stockpiles countered output cuts from Opec and other producing nations.

Gold added 0.4 per cent to $1,243.32 an ounce and is set for its seventh weekly gain in eight weeks. – Bloomberg