Dow Falls 370 Points, Bonds Rally on Trump Turmoil: Markets Wrapby and
Risk off sentiment grips markets with Washington on edge
Volatility comes roaring back, as gold surges on haven demand
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled more than 370 points, Treasuries rallied the most since July and volatility spiked higher as the turmoil surrounding the Trump administration roiled financial markets around the globe.
Major U.S. stock indexes had the worst session in eight months, while the CBOE Volatility Index jumped the most since the U.K. voted to leave the European Union last June, shattering the calm that gripped markets in the past month as the crisis threatened to derail the policy agenda that helped push equities to records as recently as Monday.
The 10-year Treasury yield sank to 2.22 percent in its steepest decline since July. The spread between 10-year and two-year yields narrowed to the flattest since before Trump’s election. The dollar weakened to a level last seen in November. Emerging-market equities halted a seven-day rally. Gold futures extended a rally to six days.
“What has been setting in over the course of the day is that political uncertainty is something that’s likely going to be with us for a significant amount of time,” said Dennis Debusschere, Evercore ISI’s head of portfolio strategy and quant. “We may be looking at a higher volatility backdrop with a trending lower market for the next couple of months.”
Wall Street finally took notice of political wrangling in Washington as investors began to question the Trump administration’s ability to focus on policy as it careens from one crisis to another. Many of the trades sparked by the president’s shock election have reversed in recent days, with the dollar all but erasing its post-election rally. The S&P 500 Index remains 10 percent higher since then, but stocks most sensitive to Trump policy prescriptions have begun to wobble.
“If he’s preoccupied defending himself and if it goes a lot further, then any hope of his legislative agenda coming to the fore is going to be reduced,” John Stopford, the London-based head of fixed-income at Investec Asset Management Ltd., said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “Clearly at the margin it’s a negative. At the moment there’s a classic environment for yields to rally a bit further and for the dollar to sell off.”
Read our Markets Live blog here.
Here are some key events coming up:
- OPEC’s internal Economic Commission Board meets in Vienna to discuss the market in preparation for the group’s formal meeting on May 25.
- Data from Japan on Thursday will likely show the economy accelerated in the first three months of the year, posting a fifth straight quarter of expansion. That would be the longest consecutive period of growth since 2005-2006.
Here are the main moves in markets:
- The S&P 500 Index fell 1.8 percent to 2,357.25 at 4 p.m. in New York, its worst day since Sept. 9. The measure touched an all-time high Tuesday.
- The Dow average lost 372.82 points, the most in eight months, while the Nasdaq Composite Index plunged 2.6 percent for its steepest drop since June 24.
- Bank shares led the retreat with a 3 percent slide, the most since June 24. Real-estate and utilities were the only of 11 groups in the S&P 500 to advance.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 1.2 percent, after ending little changed in the previous session.
- The MSCI All-Country World Index lost 1.2 percent from a record, with banks having the biggest impact across all regions. It was the worst day in eight months.
- MSCI’s emerging-market index retreated for the first time in eight sessions, sliding 0.6 percent.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index dropped 0.5 percent, trading at the lowest level since Nov. 8. The yen rose 1.9 percent to 110.95 per dollar, after climbing 0.6 percent on Tuesday.
- The euro added 0.6 percent to $1.1152, extending Tuesday’s 1 percent surge and heading for the highest since Nov. 4.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries dropped 11 basis points to 2.22 percent, the lowest since April 19.
- Odds of a June Fed rate hike settled around 60 percent, while full pricing of next hike shifted to November from September, per Fed-dated OIS rates.
- Benchmark yields in France lost six basis points to 0.83 percent, while those in Germany declined six basis points to 0.378 percent.
- Gold for immediate deliver climbed a sixth straight day in the longest run in a month. Spot prices added as much as 1.9 percent to a two-week high of $1,260.38 an ounce. Futures advanced a sixth straight day.
- Crude futures added 0.8 percent to settle at $49.07 a barrel in New York. Markets are getting some encouragement from the U.S. as supplies fell for a sixth week -- a sign that OPEC-led production curbs are starting to be felt in the world’s biggest oil-consuming nation.