US open: Stocks on the back foot ahead of Presidents Day

Maryam Cockar Sharecast | 17 Feb, 2017 16:07 | | |

New York Stock Exchange, NYSE, markets, Wall Street. Photo: Herval

US stocks were on the back foot on Friday after Wall Street’s seven-day winning streak came to an end in the previous session as investors took a breather ahead of Presidents Day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.3% to 20,558.78, the Nasdaq was flat at 5,813..90 and the S&P 500 was down 0.2% to 2,342.50 at 1602 GMT.

Financial markets will be closed for Presidents Day on Monday. The currency market will not be affected but volumes could be below average.

On Thursday, stocks ended mixed in a tight range after President Donald Trump said during a press conference that tax reform proposals would come only after a push to replace Obamacare in March. He also said in the conference that he had inherited a “mess” from former President Barack Obama.

Jasper Lawler, senior market analyst at London Capital Group, said: “Markets underwhelmed for a second day with multiple global benchmarks pulling back from record highs. The declines have been light so there’s no justification for alarm."

“After a five-day winning streak markets are looking a bit tired. If there were to have been any catalyst for the resumption of risk-taking, it wasn’t to be found in President Donald Trump’s press (bashing) conference.”

Meanwhile, oil prices retreated with West Texas Intermediate down 0.22% to $553.24 per barrel and Brent crude 0.18% weaker to $55.55.

In currency markets, the dollar was up 0.52% against the pound to 0.8049 and rose 0.43% versus the euro to 0.9409 but was down 0.26% against the yen to 112.95.

On the corporate front, shares in Kraft Heinz surged 8.58% after its proposed to merge with British consumer products giant Unilever. The $143bn takeover bid was rejected by Unilever saying that it has no financial or strategic merit, according to Reuters, although talks are ongoing.

Deere & Co fell 1.03% despite quarterly profit and revenue beat forecasts and raised it forecasts.

JM Smucker Co slumped 4.19% after reporting a fall in third quarter sales and giving a downbeat 2017 outlook.

Campbell Soup dipped 5.08% after second quarter profit missed expectations, although earnings beat forecasts.

UnitedHealth Group was down 4.16% after the US Justice Department said it would sue the company for allegedly overcharging Medicare millions of dollars

WebMD Health Corp shares were suspended late on Thursday after the company said it may put itself up for sale.

More news

08:42 London open: Stocks edge lower on N Korea concerns as investors eye May speech

London stocks edged lower in early trade on Friday after North Korea reportedly threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific and as investors awaited a key speech by Prime Minister Theresa May.

08:12 Kim Jong-un tells Trump he will 'pay dearly' as sanctions stepped up

Kim Jong-un has responded to Donald Trump's recent threats where the latter said he would "totally destroy" North Korea if the US or its allies were attacked.

08:03 Smiths saved by sterling boost, 'well positioned' for return to growth

Smiths Group reported a small decline in full year underlying revenue but 11% growth on a reported basis thanks to the weak pound and said strategic progress made in the year set it up to return to growth next year.

07:58 Lamprell H1 revenues drop, cuts full-year guidance

Oil rig builder Lamprell posted a drop in first-half revenue on Friday as it warned that revenue for 2018 would be 10% lower on the year.

07:51 Saga claims 'consistent growth' in first half

Specialist provider of products and services for those over 50, Saga, reported “consistent growth” of 5.5% in its underlying profit before tax for the first half on Friday, to £110.2m.

07:37 Acacia Mining yields positive trial results, Saga reports consistent growth

London open

07:37 London pre-open: Stocks seen weaker on North Korea woes, ahead of May speech

London stocks were set for a weaker open on Friday, taking their cue from downbeat sessions in the US and Asia after North Korea reportedly threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.

07:28 Acacia Mining shifts Buzwagi mine to gold bars to avoid export ban

Tanzanian gold miner Acacia Mining said its third mine in the country is likely to start generating cash again after positive results from a trial to increase the proportion of sellable gold bars.

07:11 Friday newspaper round-up: North Korea, May's speech, SEC, HBOS

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un Friday mocked Donald Trump as "mentally deranged" – and warned he will make the US president "pay dearly" for threatening the destruction of his country at the United Nations. Then hours later Ri Yong Ho, the North Korean foreign minister, raised the stakes suggesting Pyongyang could consider a hydrogen bomb test on the Pacific Ocean of an unprecedented scale. - Telegraph

00:01 US close: Markets end lower as investors digest Fed meeting, economic data

Stocks finished lower on Thursday, as traders tried to work out the implications of the US central bank's policy announcement on Wednesday, despite a raft of better-than-expected readings on the economy.