Stocks fall, dollar muted as Trump rally pauses for 2nd day
NEW YORK, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Stock markets around the globe dipped and U.S. equities posted their first back-to-back daily declines of the month on Thursday as the rally that has sent Wall Street shares to record highs since Donald Trump’s U.S. election victory paused ahead of the Christmas holiday weekend.
U.S. indexes have surged since the Nov. 8 election but were lower Thursday in light trading as investors took profits. The Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 have all risen more than 5 percent in the six weeks since Trump’s victory, with the Nasdaq and Dow both touching record highs this week.
Some investors believe recent gains may have made stocks too expensive, and that Congress may water down or prevent major infrastructure spending or tax cuts proposed by Trump.
"There are issues hanging over the market," said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at Newbridge Securities in New York. "You need to digest these gains, and once he becomes president, we’ll see what is actually going to get passed."
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, tapped by Trump on Wednesday as a special adviser for regulatory issues, said in an interview on CNBC that he was concerned about the stock market in the short term following its recent surge.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 23.01 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 19,918.95, the S&P 500 lost 4.22 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,260.96 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 24.01 points, or 0.44 percent, to 5,447.42.
The Dow recorded its first two-day decline since Nov. 4.
The dollar was little changed against a basket of six major currencies, hovering below a 14-year high reached this week as modest buying emerged following a round of profit-taking. It was marginally higher at 103.08 but still below 103.65 it set on Tuesday, its highest since December 2002.
Traders brushed off mostly upbeat U.S. economic data and held off further bullish dollar bets ahead of Christmas, analysts said.
"We have had a big rally and we are due for a breather," said Ed Al-Hussainy, senior interest rate and currency analyst at Columbia Threadneedle Investments in Minneapolis.
European markets were also broadly lower, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index falling 0.21 percent, closing lower for the second straight session after marking its highest level since Jan. 4.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.8 percent with the Nikkei finishing 0.1 percent lower, having hit a one-year high this week.
A metric of stocks markets around the globe fell 0.3 percent.
Emerging market bourses saw the sharpest of the day’s declines in equities with MSCI’s emerging markets index falling 1.1 percent to a one-month low. It has closed lower in six of the last seven sessions.
The U.S. election outcome has slammed emerging market currencies and equities as Trump’s campaign pledges to rewrite trade deals, along with rising U.S. interest rates and a firmer dollar which increases the cost of repaying loans many countries have in U.S. currency, have sent investors toward the exits.
U.S. Treasury yields rose after data showed the U.S. economy grew faster than initially thought in the third quarter, notching its best performance in two years, and as investors prepared for new Treasury supply next week.
Oil prices rose around 0.5 percent, spurred by the pause in the dollar rally and optimism that crude producers would abide by an agreement to limit output to prop up prices.