The dollar was down but US stock indexes pared their gains in the last day of a choppy trading week, after Donald Trump’s inaugural speech as US President prompted investor concern about protectionist trade policies. US Treasury yields fell slightly as Trump spoke but were still up on the day. The dollar, which has lost some of its momentum in recent weeks, was off 0.2 percent against six major currencies. It hit a session low during the speech before paring losses.
In his speech Trump, the country’s 45th President, promised to put ‘America First’ and that the US would follow two rules: buy American and hire American. “There’s a concern about what his trade policies will be,” said Jamie Cox, managing partner of Harris Financial Group, after he attended the inauguration in Washington D.C. “That’s probably the No. 1 area where Trump will have to tone down his rhetoric because we do have to work with other nations.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 57 points, or 0.29 percent, to 19,789.4, the S&P 500 had gained 4.68 points, or 0.206742 percent, to 2,268.37 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 9.86 points, or 0.18 percent, to 5,549.94. The benchmark S&P 500 was on track to end the week down slightly, and both the Dow and Nasdaq were each set for weekly declines.
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The S&P 500 has fallen a median 2.7 percent in the month after each new president has taken the keys to the White House since Herbert Hoover did so in January 1929, according to Reuters analysis. There has been a pause in the post-election market rally in risky assets such as equities amid questions over how Trump’s administration will carry out ambitious campaign promises of lower taxes, more government spending and looser regulations. The MSCI all world stock index also pared gains but was still up 0.26 percent on the day. It was poised for a weekly decline.
Caution ahead of the former reality TV star’s presidency offset better-than-expected economic data from China and comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, in which she sounded less hawkish than the previous day. Tens of thousands of law enforcement officers and miles of barriers were in place in Washington D.C. as it braced for hundreds of thousands of people planning to celebrate or protest Trump’s inauguration.
Treasury yields declined slightly from 2-1/2 week highs, likely spurred by safety buying of lower-risk assets. Benchmark 10-year notes were last down 6/32 in price to yield 2.48 percent, after earlier rising as high as 2.51 percent. Financing for an expected bump up in government spending may drag further on bond prices and send yields higher.
“Bond investors are trying to get ahead of the possibility that rates will rise after he’s actually in office because they think he’s going to move very quickly in the first 200 days to enact new programs to help the economy, and the Fed will raise rates sooner rather than later and possibly lead to a further selloff in long-term Treasury bonds,” said Tom di Galoma, managing director at Seaport Global in New York.
European stocks closed down 0.07 percent. The index had its worst week since before Trump’s Nov. 8 election. The Mexican peso briefly trimmed its gains during Trump’s inaugural speech, but then returned to its initial levels because the president did not announce details of measures that affect Mexico. Spot gold, on track for a fourth straight week of gains, was essentially flat on Friday at $1,204.78 per ounce.
Oil prices rose for the second day in a row on expectations a weekend meeting of the world’s top oil producers would demonstrate compliance to a global output cut deal. Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose 2.4 percent to $55.44. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were trading up 2.2 percent at $52.49 per barrel.