Trump fears hang over global stocks

Donald Trump

NEW YORK, United States — Wall Street stocks were pressured for a second session in a row Tuesday on a combination of worries about Trump administration policies and disappointing earnings.

Markets in Japan and Europe dropped with analysts citing worries about Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration. Fresh comments criticizing Germany from a White House economic advisor also dented sentiment on European bourses, analysts said.

“It’s a combination of disappointing earnings, Trump worries and macro news,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

US stocks were down most of the day, but finished above session lows. The stock moves came ahead of a Federal Reserve policy decision Wednesday that is expected to keep interest rates unchanged.

Among those to report disappointing results were oil giant ExxonMobil, which suffered a nearly 40 percent fall in fourth-quarter earnings to $1.7 billion and announced it was writing down the value of some assets due to low oil and natural gas prices.

Package shipping giant UPS was another loser, slumping nearly seven percent as it reported a loss of $239 million in the fourth quarter and projected weaker-than-expected 2017 profits due in part to ramped-up capital investments to improve e-commerce business.

Offsetting those declines was the benign response of pharma stocks to Trump comments in a meeting of top industry executives, reiterating a pledge to lower drug prices, but also saying he would work to slash regulations to streamline the drug-approval process. Most pharma equities ended higher.

Meanwhile, European markets reacted nervously to the latest broadside from a Trump economic advisor Peter Navarro, bashing Germany for exploiting an undervalued euro to take advantage of its trading partners.

Frankfurt dropped 1.3 percent, while Paris lost 0.8 percent.

The Navarro comments also boosted the euro against the dollar, analysts said.

“The Trump administration appears to be targeting currencies as part of its goal of realigning global trade back in favor of the US worker,” said London Capital Group analyst Jasper Lawler.

“Trump’s team criticizing the euro in the context of Brexit and populist candidates in upcoming European elections puts ‘eurozone breakup risk’ at the highest since the bloc’s inception,” he said.

Markets already were jittery after Trump’s much criticized executive order suspending the arrival of all refugees for a minimum of 120 days, Syrian refugees indefinitely and barring citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

“Trump is proving to be even more erratic and unpredictable than many feared,” said XTB analyst David Cheetham. CBB