Stocks Closed Lower Ahead of Trump's Inauguration

Stocks Closed Lower Ahead of Trump's Inauguration

US stocks fell on Thursday, led by declines in utilities and energy sectors, with investors cautious ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 72.53 points, or 0.37% percent, to 19,732.19, the S&P 500 lost 8.21 points, or 0.36%, to 2,263.68 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 15.57 points, or 0.28%, to 5,540.08.

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The Dow had its first five-day slump since the election. Banks slumped as Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s Treasury nominee, didn’t advocate throwing out tough regulations during his Senate confirmation hearing. The greenback erased gains after he said the dollar was “very, very strong.” Treasury yields climbed to the highest level this year. Oil advanced and gold slumped.

The rallies in the dollar and equities faltered a day before Trump is sworn in as the 45th American president, with investors growing increasingly anxious for indications the administration will follow through on pro-growth campaign promises. Mnuchin said passing tax reform is a “major component” of the policy stance. The European Central Bank earlier renewed commitment to stimulus, saying there are no signs that inflation is taking hold.

Equities extended losses amid comments from billionaire investor George Soros, who said the euphoria among stock investors since Trump’s victory will end as uncertainty takes over. The S&P 500 has fallen 0.4% since mid-December, while the Dow has churned in its tightest range ever over the past month.

Billionaire investor George Soros said today that global markets will falter given the uncertainty of incoming US President Donald Trump's policies. "Right now uncertainty is at the peak, and actually uncertainty is the enemy of long-term investment, so I don't think the markets are going to do very well," Soros said at his annual media dinner held at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Stocks in the United States shot up after Trump's Nov. 8 election victory, which also gave his Republican party control over Congress. Trump takes office on Friday. Markets see Trump dismantling regulations and reducing taxes, and that has been the dream," said Soros. "The dream has come true."  But Trump has called for border taxes and withdrawing from his predecessor's Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, among other policies that have unclear ramifications for US growth, Soros said.

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