Banks lead USA stock indexes lower in early trading; oil up

Jay Anderson
May 18, 2017

The turmoil enveloping USA politics started seeping into US markets Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average shedding 373 points while the dollar got hit and the price of gold rose.

Global stock markets and the dollar drifted lower Wednesday as traders fretted over reports that President Donald Trump appealed to ex-FBI Director James Comey to ditch an investigation into ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn. Pundits pronounce this to be an impeachable offense.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 252 points, or 1.2 percent, to 20,727.

The latest political turmoil in Washington has triggered a bout of risk aversion in financial markets after the extended lull of the past few weeks. Those companies would stand to benefit even more than large ones from corporate tax cuts Trump is proposing. Analysts say falling interest rates are a drag on the bank stocks. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 1.2 percent, after ending little changed in the previous session.

Markets overseas were also mostly lower. Bank of America (BAC.N) plunged 5.9%, while JP Morgan (JPM.N) declined 3.8%.

Investors piled into US Treasuries, sending yields on the benchmark 10-year note nine basis points lower to 2.24 percent.

Quarterly EPS analysis of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:INO)
Following the acquisition, the director now directly owns 142,291 shares in the company, valued at approximately $889,318.75. Maxim Group reiterated a "hold" rating on shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals in a research note on Thursday, February 23rd.

The bull market is not over by any means, but between the political stuff and the fact that the next earnings season is three months away, theres going to be a lack of motivation, said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at Newbridge Securities in NY.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index has fallen for six straight days and is down nearly 5 percent this year. The Nasdaq fell 158 points, or 2.6 percent, to 6,011, a day after its latest record high.

At the latest COMEX auctions, gold price increased $1.70 to $1,260.40 an ounce, and silver price downed $0.05 to $16.86. The yen rose 1.5 percent to 111.47 per dollar, after climbing 0.6 percent on Tuesday.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 41 cents, or 0.8 percent, to close at $49.07 per barrel in NY. The euro added 0.3 percent to $1.1117, extending Tuesday's 1 percent surge and heading for the highest since November 4.

The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares dipped 0.2%. Benchmark yields in France lost five basis points to 0.84 percent, while those in Germany declined five basis points to 0.382 percent. The Nikkei was down 1.82%, Shanghai was off 0.22%, and the Hang Seng was down 0.54%.

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