Thursday, March 9, 2017

U.S. stocks decline amid Trump policy uncertainty

U.S. stocks extended losses Tuesday, amid growing concerns over U.S. President Donald Trump's ability to implement his economic policies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 29.58 points, or 0.14 percent, to 20,924.76. The S&P 500 lost 6.92 points, or 0.29 percent, to 2,368.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 15.25 points, or 0.26 percent, to 5,833.93', according to a Xinhua report.

The Republican Party on Monday unveiled a healthcare bill that it says will replace the Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA), moving a step closer in trashing what former President Barack Obama hoped would be his biggest legacy.

The new bill, however, was greeted with immediate criticism from the Democrats, according to CNBC.

The ACA has been heatedly debated in the United States since its ratification in 2010. The Obama administration said the ACA expanded healthcare coverage to millions more of citizens, while some grumble that their healthcare premiums have surged after the ACA was put in place.

On the economic front, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Tuesday that the goods and services deficit was 48.5 billion U.S. dollars in January, up 4.2 billion dollars from the revised 44.3 billion dollars in December.

"While Trump took credit for a lower federal deficit in the first month of his presidency, he likely will not tout the rise in the trade deficit as his responsibility. He is likely, however, to push legislation to reduce the financial gain of moving cars back and forth across borders to lower costs at the expense of American jobs," said Jay Morelock, an economist at FTN Financial.

Meanwhile, investors continued to assess the possibility of a March rate hike after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech.

Yellen said last Friday at the Executives' Club of Chicago that an interest rate hike in this month's monetary policy will likely be appropriate, if the economy progresses in line with officials' expectation.

Market expectations for a March rate hike were around 84 percent, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool.'

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