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U.S. yields, dollar fall; Trump offers little policy detail

U.S. yields, dollar fall; Trump offers little policy detail
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Photo: Reuters
Published: 9:10 AM, January 11, 2017
Updated: 6:00 AM, January 12, 2017

NEW YORK - U.S. Treasuries rallied across the board on Wednesday, while the dollar fell to one-month lows after President-elect Donald Trump, in a widely-awaited press briefing, failed to provide clarity on future fiscal policies.

U.S. stocks also weakened initially after Trump took aim at the pharmaceutical industry for charging high prices. He said pharmaceutical companies are "getting away with murder."

"The market was disappointed by Trump's lack of specificity and details on his fiscal spending plans," said Kathy Lien, managing director at BK Asset Management in New York.

Treasuries have since held gains despite U.S. stocks recovering from Trump-inspired losses.

In his first press briefing as U.S. president-elect, Trump presided over a wide-ranging session that touched on topics such as allegations of Russia spying, Mexico, his business interests, and drug pricing.

But the briefing, which lasted longer than expected, did not break new ground, analysts said. It contained no details on tax cuts and infrastructure spending, which were two factors that ignited a five-week global bond market selloff after his surprise presidential win.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 0.5 percent on the day at 19,954.28, the S&P 500 rose 0.3 percent to 2,275.32. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.2 percent, to 5,563.05, a record high.

Other global stock indexes edged higher as well.

The UK's FTSE 100 posted a record 12th straight day of gains while European shares rose 0.2 percent to 364.90.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.83 percent, to 445.2, while the MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 45 nations, inched 0.2 percent higher to 429.88.

In the bond market, benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury prices were up 4/32, yielding 2.364 percent, down from Tuesday's 2.379 percent. German 10-year yields ended the day at 0.248 percent, down from 0.283 percent the previous session.

Trump's comments reversed earlier dollar gains, with the dollar falling 0.2 percent against a basket of currencies to 101.77. The index earlier fell to a one-month trough of 101.28. The greenback also fell versus the yen, down 0.3 percent at 115.38 yen.

Trump's campaign calls for tax cuts and more infrastructure spending have boosted U.S. shares and the dollar, as well as driving a selloff in Treasuries, but his protectionist statements and a flurry of off-the-cuff Tweets have kept many investors from adding to risky positions.

"The hope is for a pivot back toward the Trumponomics agenda, which was three key themes: tax reform, deregulation, and infrastructure spending," said Vassili Serebriakov, a currency strategist at Credit Agricole in New York.

Trump has vowed to label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office on Jan. 20 and has threatened to slap huge tariffs on imports from China.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and top members of Trump's transition team are discussing a controversial plan to tax imports.

Economists have warned that protectionist measures could stifle international trade and hurt global growth.

Sterling, meanwhile, earlier edged toward a 10-week low against the dollar, kept under pressure by fears Britain will undergo a "hard" exit from the EU in which access to the single market will play second fiddle to immigration controls. But by late afternoon trading as the dollar weakened, sterling rose 0.2 percent to $1.2202.

In commodity markets, dollar-denominated oil rose, lifted by the greenback's weakness as well as reports of Saudi supply cuts to Asia.

Brent crude was last up $1.56, or 2.9 percent, at $55.2 a barrel. U.S. crude, on the other hand, climbed nearly 3 percent to $52.34 per barrel. REUTERS