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Donald Trump inauguration

US stocks end up but off session peak on day Trump becomes president

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 January, 2017, 2:26am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 January, 2017, 5:23am

Wall Street stocks finished higher Friday as Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States and Barack Obama’s term ended.

US stocks were in positive territory virtually the entire day, but they retreated from session highs after Trump’s inauguration speech, which analysts called populist and protectionist.

“The market wasn’t wild about it, perhaps a bit of a negative tone taken rather than a positive tone,” said JJ Kinahan,chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5 per cent to close at 19,827.25.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.3 per cent to 2,271.32, as the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index also rose 0.3 per cent to end at 5,555.33.

In a staunchly populist and sometimes angry speech, Trump blasted international trade deals and promised to put America first.

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first,” he said.

“Together we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And, yes, together, we will make America great again.”

US stocks had enjoyed a torrid rally after Trump’s election win on November 8 in anticipation that he and the Republican-led Congress would cut taxes and enact other pro-growth measures, but markets lost steam in the past two weeks.

The White House shortly after his speech announced he will demand a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, and will abandon the pact unless the United States gets “a fair deal.”

Analysts said the market is in a wait-and-see mode until Trump follows up on key promises, particularly tax reform, which was not mentioned in the speech, but was again pledged in a statement on the White House website.

“Right now, we can say that the stock market is in a deliberation phase, recognising that the time has arrived for the legislative reality to live up to the hope of the post-election rally, and knowing full well that governing in this interconnected world is never as easy as campaigning in this interconnected world,” said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare.

The inauguration overshadowed earnings from several large companies, including Procter & Gamble and IBM, which both rose, and General Electric, which fell.

Bristol Myers-Squibb slumped more than 11 per cent after announcing it would not seek accelerated regulatory approval for a new lung cancer treatment. But Merck, which is developing a rival drug, jumped 3.7 per cent.

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