Wall Street drops, led by banks, as investors book profits | Reuters
By Yashaswini Swamynathan U.S.
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
U.S. stocks opened lower on Friday, led by bank stocks, as investors booked profits after a record-setting few days and ahead of a long weekend.Since President Donald Trump vowed last week to announce a tax reform in the coming weeks, Wall Street has hit record intraday and closing highs in successive days in a rally led by financials.The S&P 500 financial index outperformed others with a gain of about 3.2 percent in the past week, while the KBW Bank index was up 3.8 percent. The S&P 500 gained 1.7 percent.Those gains were cut sharply on Friday, with the broader financials down 0.65 percent and the banks down nearly 1 percent.With a strong fourth-quarter earnings season mostly complete, many investors say they need concrete signs of progress from Trump on his policy plans to justify more gains.In his first solo news conference on Thursday, Trump again offered little detail on his proposed reforms.
"Tax reforms are going to be as complicated as the repeal and replace (of the Affordable Care Act) and the markets may well think that the timing of the tax reform is going to be dragged out," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Equity Capital Markets in New York.The lack of key economic data and a long weekend due to the Presidents Day holiday on Monday is also likely to keep investors from taking new positions, with trading volumes likely to be thin, on Friday.At 9:34 a.m. ET (1434 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 82.08 points, or 0.4 percent, at 20,537.69, the S&P 500 was down 7.64 points, or 0.32 percent, at 2,339.58 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 13.78 points, or 0.24 percent, at 5,801.12.
Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors fell, with gains only in the defensive utilities, consumer staples and real estate sectors.Bank of America JPMorgan and Citigroup were the top drags on the S&P 500 index.Dow component UnitedHealth dropped 3 percent to $158.79 after the Justice Department joined a whistleblower lawsuit against the health insurer.
Kraft Heinz jumped 7.2 percent to $93.58 after it said it would continue to pursue a merger with Unilever, despite being rebuffed. Unilever's U.S.-listed shares surged more than 11 percent.Mondelez, rumored to be a Kraft acquisition target, fell 2.3 percent to $42.22.Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,712 to 879,. On the Nasdaq, 1,457 issues fell and 832 advanced.The S&P 500 index showed 7 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 31 new highs and seven new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.