World stocks fade as rally inspired by Trump tax plan stalls and euro slips after ECB remarks
A gauge of world stock markets slipped on Thursday as a three-day rally stalled in the wake of a largely expected US tax cut plan, while the euro weakened after comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.
On Wall Street, stocks edged higher as the Nasdaq notched the day’s best performance. Investors focused on a stream of solid earnings reports after a lukewarm reception for US President Donald Trump’s tax plan unveiled on Wednesday, as some details of the plan were largely anticipated by investors.
Corporate earnings continue to show strong results for the quarter. Comcast, up 2.1 per cent, was the top boost to the benchmark S&P 500 index after reporting results.
“Most folks were expecting a build in earnings acceleration and that’s what we’ve got,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston. “Despite all the economic and geopolitical noise, ultimately the market has been responding to improving earnings.”
Arone said a premium has been built into stock prices on bets of tax reform and other policies expected from the Trump administration, so “when that is in question, you see a sideways action.”
First-quarter earnings are expected to show growth of 12.4 per cent, the best since 2011.
US economic data showed new orders for US-made capital goods rose less than expected in March, but a second straight monthly increase in shipments suggested business investment accelerated in the first quarter.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 6.3 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 20,981.39, the S&P 500 gained 1.32 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 2,388.77 and the Nasdaq Composite added 23.71 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 6,048.94.
Europe’s main bourses closed lower after falling as much as 0.5 per cent as traders pulled back after a six-session winning streak on relief at the outcome of the first round of France’s presidential election and encouraging earnings.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 0.23 per cent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.06 per cent to edge down from a record.
As widely expected, the ECB made no changes to its record- low interest rates or stimulus programme. But euro zone government bond yields and the euro fell after Draghi said policymakers did not discuss removing the bank’s easing bias on monetary policy at this month’s meeting.
The benchmark 10-year Bund yield was last down almost 5 basis points at 0.303 per cent. The euro was down 0.24 per cent to US$1.0877 against the dollar.
After weakening against the greenback on Wednesday, the Canadian dollar and Mexican peso went in opposite directions after Washington said it would not scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The Mexican peso strengthened 0.67 per cent versus the US dollar at 19.05, while the Canadian dollar weakened 0.04 per cent versus the greenback at 1.36 per dollar.
Oil prices renewed their slump after news that two key oilfields in Libya had restarted, pumping crude for export into an already swollen market. Brent crude is on track for its seventh decline in nine sessions. US crude settled down 1.3 per cent at US$48.97 per barrel and Brent settled off 0.7 per cent at US$51.44 on the day.