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Monday, December 09, 2019

Trump Slump: Wall Street Opens Lower Amid Political Uncertainty

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks opened lower on Monday as investors sought fresh catalysts after a strong jobs report last week, while uncertainty over President Donald Trump’s policies continued to weigh.

Investors are wary about Trump’s focus on isolationist policies including travel restrictions to the United States. A federal judge on Friday blocked a travel ban on seven mainly Muslim nations.

“The market is looking for direction from the White House on policy,” said Albert Brenner, director of asset allocation strategy at People’s United Wealth Management in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

“When you see the markets pause, it signals investors are becoming more rational and are waiting to see some concrete evidence that drove the market higher after the election.”

Markets rallied sharply after Trump’s election victory in November, riding on hopes that his plans including simpler regulations, higher infrastructure spending and tax cuts will boost the economy.

However, Goldman Sachs economist Alec Phillips said in a note that Trump’s agenda presents risks as tax cuts and infrastructure funding may boost growth, but may be offset by negative effects of restrictions on trade and immigration.

At 9:36 a.m. ET (1436 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 32.04 points, or 0.16 percent, at 20,039.42.

The S&P 500 was down 5.23 points, or 0.22 percent, at 2,292.19.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 14.51 points, or 0.26 percent, at 5,652.26.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the materials index’s 0.33 percent fall leading the decliners.

Microsoft’s 0.7 percent fall weighed the most on the S&P and the Nasdaq.

Oil was slightly lower but steadied around $57 per barrel as rising tensions between the United States and Iran and OPEC supply cuts were countered by ample inventories and signs that higher prices will revive U.S. output. [O/R]

Tiffany fell 2.9 percent to $78.52 as the upscale jeweler said its CEO has stepped down after what the company called disappointing financial results.

Hasbro jumped 15.2 percent to $95.20 after the toymaker’s quarterly results beat expectations.

Chipotle Mexican Grill was down 2.1 percent at $396.57 after Barron’s said the burrito chain’s stock could fall as much as 35 percent in the next year.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,503 to 1,080. On the Nasdaq, 1,437 issues fell and 830 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed two new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 29 new highs and four new lows.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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