HONG KONG/May 18, 2017 (AP)(STL.News) — Asian and European stock markets extended a global selloff Thursday as Washington’s political chaos made investors more nervous about risky assets and the outlook for President Donald Trump’s business-friendly proposals.
KEEPING SCORE: European shares fell in early trading. Britain’s FTSE 100 sank 0.8 percent to 7,444.97 and France’s CAC 40 shed 0.4 percent to 5,294.83. Germany’s DAX lost 0.4 percent to 12,585.29. Wall Street was poised to open lower. Dow futures dipped 0.1 percent to 20,588.00 and broader S&P 500 futures were down a fraction.
TRUMP’S TROUBLES: New developments in the political crisis facing Trump have rattled investors, ending a long period of calm in the markets. The market turmoil stemmed from a published report that revealed Trump asked now-fired FBI Director James Comey to drop an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The White House denied it. The appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special prosecutor was announced after U.S. trading closed. He will have broad powers to investigate allegations Russia and Trump’s campaign collaborated to influence the election last year and to prosecute any crime he uncovers.
TRADER TALK: “The brewing political instability in Washington has raised questions about Donald Trump’s ability to deliver his pro-growth policies, with a growing sense of uncertainty hastening the flight to safety,” said Lukman Otunuga, analyst at FXTM. “The Trump rally seems to be a theme of the past. Stock markets may be in store for further punishment moving forward.”
JAPANESE GROWTH: Growth in in Asia’s second-largest economy picked up pace in the first quarter, expanding at a faster-than-expected annual pace of 2.2 percent. The latest figures add to an extended growth streak for Japan, where the central bank has pumped trillions of yen into the economy to boost growth.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index slid 1.3 percent to close at 19,553.86 and South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.3 percent to 2,286.82. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.6 percent to 25,136.52 and the Shanghai Composite index in mainland China dipped 0.5 percent to 3,090.14. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 skidded 0.8 percent lower to 5,738.30. Benchmarks in Taiwan, New Zealand and most of Southeast Asia also lost ground.
CURRENCIES: The dollar stabilized against its peers after being dragged down by Trump-related concerns. The euro slipped to $1.1135 from $1.1159 in late trading Wednesday. The dollar strengthened to 110.86 yen from 110.82 yen.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil futures slipped 12 cents to $48.95 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 41 cents, or 0.8 percent, to close at $49.07 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 18 cents to $52.03 a barrel in London.
KELVIN CHAN, AP Business Writer