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U.S. tax cut worries dent hopes of longest winning run in 14 years

Reuters  |  NEW YORK 

By David Randall

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Broad declines in and on Thursday, combined with growing concerns that the Republican-led corporate U.S. cut may not pass this year, threatened to spoil the longest winning streak for MSCI's stock index since 2003.

Wall Street stocks opened lower after Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, a member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, said that the Senate proposal will delay a corporate cut by one year to 2019. Major stock indexes came off their session lows after Senator John Cornyn said Senate Republicans were looking to avoid such a delay. [.N ]

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 130.51 points, or 0.55 percent, to 23,432.85, the S&P 500 lost 14.82 points, or 0.57 percent, to 2,579.56 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 57.13 points, or 0.84 percent, to 6,731.99.

"The has run out of a little momentum," said Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes. "We are waiting for some from the Republicans on the (U.S.) plans, there is a bond market that has stalled and we've got rather soggy-looking emerging ... We probably need to get U.S. Treasury yields higher to get things going again."

Junk bonds fell to their lowest intraday levels since March, victims of a broader flight to safety as the Republican-led proposed U.S. corporate cut seemed on the verge of a delay. Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes were last down 4/32 in price to yield 2.331 percent, from 2.317 percent late on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Japan's Nikkei index <.N225> swung by a wild 2 percent after hitting its highest since 1992 [.T] and Europe's main indexes were firmly in the red as tech and commodity stocks tumbled while Brexit talks resumed amid low expectations in Brussels.

MSCI's all-country equity index is clocking year-to-date gains of almost 19 percent. (http://reut.rs/1WAiOSC)

But as a measure of relative calm amid the current bull market and a reflection of the low volatility environment that has dominated all year, none of the most recent 10 daily gains has exceeded half a percent and more than half of them were less than 0.1 percent.

TAXING TIMES

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of six key currencies, fell 0.44 percent to 94.448.

"There's very much a risk of disappointment. The could go through a weakening phase on the back of uncertainty around that reform," said Steven Dooley, currency strategist for Western Union Business Solutions in Melbourne.

Some also focused on fallout from Democrat wins in regional U.S. elections this week as a signal for next year's mid-term congressional elections for President Donald Trump.

Trump was in China on Thursday, pressing President Xi Jinping to do more to rein in North Korea and to open the Chinese economy, the second-biggest in the world after the United States, to more foreign firms.

The euro was last up 0.47 percent at $1.1648 while Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index dropped 1.09 percent at 1,534.88.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.39 percent.

Oil prices steadied just below two-year highs, supported by supply cuts by major exporters, but analysts said the market could be vulnerable to a sell-off after several months of gains. U.S. crude rose 0.58 percent to $57.14 per barrel and Brent was last at $63.88, up 0.61 percent.

Spot gold added 0.5 percent to $1,287.41 an ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 0.36 percent to $1,288.30.

Cryptocurrency bitcoin skidded about 3.5 percent after being down almost 5 percent.

It had hit a record high just shy of $8,000 on Wednesday after a coalition of developers and investors suspended a software upgrade planned for next Thursday that could have split the digital currency in two.

(Additional reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Dan Grebler and James Dalgleish)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, November 10 2017. 01:49 IST
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