Political Uncertainty May Lead to Choppy Trading on Wall Street

November 20, 2017
Political Uncertainty May Lead to Choppy Trading on Wall Street

By Investors Hub

The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a slightly higher opening on Monday, although traders may be reluctant to make significant moves amid continued uncertainty about U.S. tax reform and news of political instability in Germany.

The upcoming Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday is also likely to keep some traders away from their desks, leading to light trading throughout the week.

While selling pressure was relatively subdued, stocks saw modest weakness during trading on Friday. The major averages all moved to the downside, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq pulling back off the record closing high set in the previous session.

The Dow slid 100.12 points or 0.4 percent to 23,358.24, the Nasdaq dipped 10.50 points or 0.2 percent to 6,782.79 and the S&P 500 fell 6.79 points or 0.3 percent to 2,578.85.

For the week, the major averages turned in a mixed performance. While the Nasdaq rose by 0.5 percent, the Dow slipped by 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 edged down by 0.1 percent.

The weakness on Wall Street partly reflected lingering uncertainty about the outlook for Republican lawmakers’ tax reform plans.

While the House approved their tax reform bill on Thursday, significant differences with the Senate version could still hinder final passage of the legislation.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing a much bigger than expected jump in housing starts in the month of October.

The report said housing starts spiked by 13.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.290 million in October from a revised 1.135 million in September.

Economists had expected housing starts to climb to an annual rate of 1.185 million from the 1.127 million originally reported for the previous month.

Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, also surged up by 5.9 percent to a rate of 1.297 million in October from a revised 1.225 million in September.

Trucking stocks saw significant weakness on the day, resulting in a 1.5 percent slump by the Dow Jones Trucking Index. With the drop, the index fell to its lowest closing level in almost a month.

Ryder (R), C.H. Robinson (CHRW) and YRC Worldwide (YRCW) turned in some of the trucking sector’s worst performances.

Utilities and railroad stocks also moved to the downside, while strength among energy and gold stocks helped to limit the downside for the broader markets.

Dipo Olowookere

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

Mr Olowookere can be reached via [email protected]

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