Economy

US housing data, political turmoil hit dollar; stocks flat

US housing data, political turmoil hit dollar; stocks flat

It was the lowest since November and added to a recent run of disappointing USA economic data.

"As long as we have growth, whether it is earnings or economic data, the markets are likely to be able to take such (political) headlines in stride", said Matt Miskin, senior capital markets research analyst at John Hancock Investments in Boston, referring to the Trump-Russia headlines.

UnitedHealth and Pfizer were the S&P's biggest drags.

The dollar's sell-off looked like it had further to go, said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management, given the potential for further political fallout relating to reports that Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russian officials last week.

The disclosure adds to concern over the administration's chances of passing legislation, including a tax reform, that has partly been priced in by financial markets.

Giants beat Dodgers for fourth straight win
Crawford hesitated rounding third but scored when McCarthy cut off Seager's throw, trying to catch Nunez between first and second. Crawford scored and Nunez took second, then stole third to set up Christian Arroyo's sac fly to give the Giants a 5-1 lead.

United States stocks opened higher, with the Dow up 0.2 percent to climb back over the 21,000-point mark, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite both added to record closes.

In currencies, the US dollar nursed deep losses after a weak manufacturing report trimmed expectations of a Federal Reserve rate increase next month, a key factor behind the dollar's gains in recent weeks.

The downtrend in the USA currency could extend further, according to Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management, given the potential for further political fallout relating to Trump's intelligence disclosure.

"It seems like progressively every single day it gets more and more beyond any sense of normal leadership and ultimately that kind of political volatility does translate into economic volatility", Schlossberg said.

While the dollar was down across the board, the euro appeared to be the main beneficiary of its weakness, trading up as much as 0.6 per cent on the day and reaching $1.10365, its highest since November 9.

French right torn apart as Macron, PM prepare to name government
Pope Francis has sent new French President Emmanuel Macron his congratulations and a few words of encouragement. Neither commented publicly after the meeting at the close of another busy day for the new French leader.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six other major currencies, and which rose to 14-year highs earlier this year on the view that Trump's plans for tax cuts and infrastructure spending would boost growth and inflation, fell to its weakest in over six months. But it fell to six-month lows on Tuesday. Technology stocks remain a key engine of gains for the Nasdaq and S&P, but traders are concerned about the feasibility of the Trump agenda of tax cuts and deregulation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 20.85 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,002.79, the S&P 500 lost 0.32 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,402 and the Nasdaq Composite added 10.33 points, or 0.17 percent, to 6,160.01. "Given that there are some stock indexes that have risen more than 10 percent so far this year, we may be entering a consolidation phase", said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, chief strategist at Mizuho Securities. USA gold futures gained 0.54 percent to $1,236.70 an ounce.

The weaker-than-expected data is causing traders to wonder whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will fail to deliver the June rate increase.

USA crude rose 0.02 percent to $48.86 per barrel and Brent was last at $51.88, up 0.12 percent on the day.

A risk-on undertone meant meager gains for gold, with the precious metal changing hands at $1,233 per ounce.

Jaguar escapes enclosure, attacks monkey at Texas zoo
Zoo staff found Estrella the jaguar sitting on top of the spider monkey enclosure, which is right next to the jaguar habitat. This 2016 photo provided by the Abilene Zoo , shows a jaguar named Estrella in an enclosure at the zoo in Abilene, Texas.

It was down 0.4 per cent on the day at 98.555, down over 5 per cent from its January peak.


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