US stocks rise, dollar falls as Trump era begins

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NEW YORK : US stocks rose and the dollar fell Friday as Donald Trump was officially sworn in as the president of the United States and Barack Obama’s term ended.

Trump’s inauguration dominated a day that saw most major equity markets rise as the long-telegraphed transfer of power in the world’s biggest economy finally took place.

Trump’s election sparked a massive US stock rally in the six weeks that followed, amid expectations the new US president would enact pro-growth measures, such as tax cuts, public works spending and regulatory rollbacks.

However, markets have traded sideways over the last month as investors wait for concrete progress on that wish list.

The S&P 500 added 0.3 percent to finish the week slightly lower, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5 percent.

“Right now, we can say that the stock market is in a deliberation phase, recognizing that the time has arrived for the legislative reality to live up to the hope of the post-election rally; and knowing full well that governing in this interconnected world is never as easy as campaigning in this interconnected world,” said analyst Patrick O’Hare.

Adopting a populist and sometimes angry tone in his inaugural address, Trump blasted international trade deals and promised to put America first.

“Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families,” Trump said. “We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs.”

Stocks cut their gains after the speech, although they stayed in positive throughout the afternoon. While analysts have cheered talk of tax cuts, they fear Trump could start a trade war.

Indeed, shortly after the ceremony, the White House announced plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, and pull out unless it gets a “fair deal.”

“The market wasn’t wild about it, perhaps a bit of a negative tone taken rather than a positive tone,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.

Kinahan said the market is waiting for concrete progress on tax reform and other key growth measures after rallying aggressively after the election in anticipation of major change.

“The market is always ‘What’s next?'” Kinahan said. “Until we see some implementation plan, we’re going to continue with this nervousness.”

The dollar fell against the euro, pound and yen. Trump has said the dollar is too high and is crimping American growth.

Trump also has lashed out at China over its currency and threatened tariffs on the world’s second-biggest economy, raising the possibility of a “new cold war between the US and China,” said Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management.

“None of this is positive for the US dollar or the US economy.”

Earlier, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 dipped 0.1 percent, while Frankfurt’s DAX 30 index won 0.3 percent and the Paris CAC 40 gained 0.2 percent.

– Chinese growth –

Ahead of Trump’s big day, markets were cheered by data showing China’s economy enjoyed its first growth pick-up in two years.

The Chinese economy expanded by 6.8 percent in the final quarter of last year, the first improvement since the end of 2014.

While China’s National Bureau of Statistics welcomed the data, it stressed that “the domestic and external conditions are still complicated and severe”.
– Key figures near 2330 GMT –
New York – DOW JONES: UP 0.5 percent at 19,827.25 (close)

New York – S&P 500: UP 0.3 percent at 2,271.31 (close)

New York – NASDAQ: UP 0.3 percent at 5,555.33 (close)

London – FTSE 100: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,198.44 points (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.3 percent at 11,630.13 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 4,850.67 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,299.44

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 percent at 19,137.91 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.7 percent at 3,123.14 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.7 percent at 22,885.91 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0699 from $1.0665

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2368 from $1.2338

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 114.60 yen from 114.84 yen

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP $1.05 at $52.42 per barrel

Oil – Brent North Sea: UP $1.33 at $54.49 per barrel

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