Equities in London spent most Friday’s session adrift with a slightly negative bias ahead of the US congressional vote on President Donald Trump’s Healthcare Bill, with little in the way of domestic corporate or economic news to provide firm direction.
At the closing bell, the FTSE 100 was down 0.05% to 7,335.64, and the FTSE 250 was down 0.1% to 18,980.44. In the US, the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite all were all making minor gains.
All eyes are on Washington to see how President Trump fares in the first real test of his legislative programme.
Markets, having (perhaps a touch naively) assumed that the year would see him go from triumph to triumph, are now on the cusp of switching to the opposite extreme, fear that none of the goals of the administration will be achieved.
A failure this weekend and no redeeming ‘tax-cut lite’ plan soon could see a lot of the so-called ‘Trump effect’ premium wiped off equity markets. Still for now people appear to be giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, opined earlier that the Healthcare Bill was considered a key hurdle before moving forward with other bullish stimulus pledges, such as tax cuts, deregulation and infrastructure spending, among others. “The outcome could represent a turning point within the Trump rally, either reigniting it or possibly snuffing it out.”
There was little respite for oil prices which fell for five days in a row, holding just above $50 a barrel.The weak dollar and lower bond yields together with the underlying sense of uncertainty across markets helped push gold up to $1,248 an ounce. This represents a $20 rise over the week.