International markets roundup

NEW YORK - U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday, weighed down by financial and healthcare stocks, as investors turned skittish following President-elect Donald Trump's remarks on the dollar and drug pricing.

Biotech and pharma stocks declined after Trump told the Washington Post that he would target companies over drug pricing and that he was ready to unveil a plan to replace Obamacare.

Investors may be concerned that Trump is "going after the Affordable Care Act and is burning a little political capital that might otherwise have been used for business friendly matters," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist of Wunderlich Equity Capital Markets in New York.

The dollar index fell by 0.7 per cent to a near six-week low of 100.46 after Trump told the Wall Street Journal that the strength of the currency was hurting competitiveness of U.S. companies.

However, a 1.2 per cent rise in consumer staples offset some of the losses. Wal-Mart rose 2.5 percent and gave the biggest boost to the Dow after the retailer said it would create 10,000 jobs in the United States this year.

U.S. stocks and the dollar have surged since Trump's election on bets that he would usher in an era of economic growth through fiscal stimulus.

However, the rally has hit a speed bump ahead of the Jan. 20 Inauguration Day as investors are increasingly nervous of what his policies could mean to world trade.

A trade war between the U.S. and China and a strengthening dollar are among the biggest threats to a brightening global economic outlook, leading economists at the World Economic Forum in Davos felt.

At 1730 GMT(0430 AEDT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 42 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 19,843.73. The S&P 500 was down 4.42 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 2,270.22, while the Nasdaq Composite was down 26.94 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 5,547.18.

MILAN - European shares ended flat on Tuesday, coming off lows after British Prime Minister Theresa May provided some clarity on her country's plans to leave the European Union.

The pan-European STOXX index ended 0.1 per cent lower, having fallen as much as 0.7 per cent just before May began speaking. Britain's FTSE 100 index fell 1.5 per cent, its biggest one-day drop since June 2016, as sterling surged on May's speech.

Concerns over a "hard" Brexit had been weighing on the pound in recent weeks, helping the FTSE end at all-time highs on Monday after a record 14 straight days of gains.

In a much-awaited speech that had been extensively leaked to media, May said Britain would leave the EU's single market but promised a parliamentary vote on any deal and stressed it would seek to stay a key European partner.

"The fact that May is willing to put the final Brexit deal vote to the Parliament reinforces the possibility of a `softer' Brexit," said Stephane Ekolo, a strategist at Market Securities.

Deutsche Bank said it viewed the speech as moderately positive for markets following weekend headlines signalling a hawkish stance on immigration and relaxed attitude towards EU tariffs.

"Nevertheless, it is not a game changer," it said.

Europe's banking index ended little changed following a volatile session that saw it move from being one of top sectoral losers in Europe to a top gainer.

HONG KONG - Hong Kong shares bounced back on Tuesday from the previous day's spill, but gains were capped as investors awaited British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech on Brexit later in the day and Friday's inauguration of Donald Trump as U.S. president.

The benchmark Hang Seng index, which on Monday suffered its biggest one-day loss in a month, added 0.5 per cent to 22,840.97 points. The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index edged up 0.4 per cent to 9,702.19 points.

Nearly all sectors gained ground, led by industrial stocks , which rose around 1.1 per cent.

Shanghai's benchmark stock index rose on Tuesday, snapping a five-day losing streak, as small-caps staged a sharp afternoon rebound that let an index tracking them halt an eight-day slide.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.2 per cent, to 3,326.36 points. The Shanghai Composite Index also added 0.2 per cent to 3,108.77 points.

Earlier, Japan's Nikkei share average hit its lowest level in over five weeks as investors locked in recent gains ahead of the inauguration of US President-elect Donald Trump later in the week

WELLINGTON - New Zealand shares dipped, led lower by Air New Zealand and Vector, with Arvida Group and Tegel Group Holdings rising.

The S&P/NZX50 Index fell 11.98 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,062.96. Within the index, 23 stocks fell, 20 rose and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $72.3 million.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.7538-0.0021-0.27%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.6127+0.0033+0.54%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.7060+0.0005+0.07%
    AUDEUR=X