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Trump uncertainty pushes yen, Swiss franc to multi-week highs

Trump uncertainty pushes yen, Swiss franc to multi-week highs”

European stocks open lower as global investors pull back from both risky assets and the US dollar amid the ongoing political scandal in the White House that threatens to engulf President Donald Trump's nascent administration.

That was followed late Tuesday by claims by recently fired Federal Bureau of Investigation boss James Comey that Trump pressed him to drop a probe into ex-national security advisor Michael Flynn over his links to Moscow.

Under pressure from Congress, the Justice Department late on Wednesday named former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election and possible collusion between President Donald Trump's campaign and Moscow. The S&P 500 was briefly on track for its worst day since September 13, but pared some of those losses to put it on track for its biggest daily fall in about two months.

The clearest casualty has been the USA dollar, which has lost all the gains it made since the U.S. election.

The Japanese currency has been experiencing a massive cascade as the dollar struggles this week because of two main reasons; the first one is the lackluster United States data on the beginning of the week, the most recent one is the report of President Trump disclosing "classified intelligence" to Russian officials who visited the White House last week.

Asian equity markets were broadly lower, extending a selloff in the USA overnight, as doubts increased that the Trump administration would be able to deliver on its policy goals due to mounting political problems. The report raised concerns that political distractions will delay Trump's growth agenda. It's all being put well on the back burner and even off the stove.

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The dollar took a beating in NY and extended the losses Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.19 points, or 0.01 percent, to 20,979.75, the S&P 500 lost 1.65 points, or 0.07 percent, to 2,400.67 and the Nasdaq Composite added 20.20 points, or 0.33 percent, to 6,169.87.

Volatility spiked. The CBOE Volatility index was up 2.8 points.

Bank stocks, which outperformed in the post-election rally, were the worst hit on Wednesday. The S&P 500 financial sector tumbled more than 2 percent, led by losses in Bank of America (Swiss: BAC-USD.SW - news) and JPMorgan (LSE: JPIU.L - news).

At almost 18 times forward earnings, the S&P 500 trades at a significant premium to its long-term average valuations of 15 times, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Trump's economic proposals - slashing taxes, cutting regulation and pumping up infrastructure spending - lifted the USA dollar after the election because many thought they could give the American economy a shot in the arm.

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Several money managers said they were not yet likely to change their portfolios as a result of the latest White House news.

"But judging by how steeply the dollar has fallen, participants may have already priced in much of the negative news regarding Trump".

The dollar index scaled a 14-year peak of 103.82 on January 3 on hopes for tax reform and stimulus measures from the administration of US President Donald Trump, Reuters reported. The dollar bought 112.14 yen, compared with 113.12 yen on Tuesday.

Oil prices extended losses after API data showed an unexpected build in USA crude inventories.

Brent crude futures were down 46 cents, or 1 percent, from their last close at $51.19 per barrel.

And in a sure sign of the rising fear levels the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond was off 10 basis points at 2.22%, the biggest fall in the yield for 11 months.

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