Stocks, dollar cut losses on hope Trump can move past healthcare

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Stocks, the dollar and US long-dated Treasury yields slipped on Monday (March 27) but recovered lost ground as investors hoped US President Donald Trump will still be able to bolster the economy despite a defeat over healthcare reform.

Trump's failure to rally enough support from his own Republican party - which controls both houses of US Congress - to repeal and replace Obamacare spurred a rush to safe-haven assets such as gold, the Japanese yen and the Swiss franc, before nerves steadied.

A dip in risk appetite dominated Asian and European stock markets, and the MSCI's all-country world equity index was down 0.17 per cent.

The index, which fell to a near two-week low after Wall Street stocks hit their lowest levels in about six weeks at the open, recovered ground as major US stock indexes trimmed losses. The Nasdaq Composite turned positive.

Investors appeared to be trading on the hope that the Trump administration will still be able to deliver on its promise of tax reform even though details remain scarce, said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial in Waltham, Massachusetts.

"The beauty of it from a market perspective, is without the details we can all trade on hope. At this point we are still seeing the benefit of hope on the market side and we will see what happens on the details," he said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 61.75 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 20,534.97, the S&P 500 lost 5 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 2,338.98 and the Nasdaq Composite added 5.29 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 5,834.03.

European shares were hit by losses among miners and banks. Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index closed down 0.37 per cent at 1,479.05.

The US dollar slipped, briefly falling to its lowest since November against a basket of currencies, as investors lost confidence in prospects for a US fiscal spending boost under the Trump administration.

The dollar index had risen to a 14-year high near 104.00 in early January when expectations for inflation-boosting stimulus under the Trump presidency were at their peak. The index was down 0.45 per cent at 99.175.

The weaker dollar helped boost gold. Spot gold was up 0.91 percent at $1,255.13 an ounce, after hitting a 1-month high of $1,261.03 an ounce, earlier in the session.

US long-dated Treasury yields fell to one-month lows on Monday, knocked by growing uncertainty about whether the Trump administration could deliver on its campaign promise to bolster the economy.

US 30-year bond prices rose 12/32, yielding 2.9816 per cent. Earlier, yields slid to 2.96 per cent, their lowest since Feb 28. "This is just follow-through from Friday. There is disappointment over the inability to pass the reform of Obamacare," said Gennadiy Goldberg, interest rates strategist at TD Securities in New York.

Meanwhile, oil resumed its slide as investors remained uncertain whether producing nations will extend an OPEC-led output cut beyond the end of June in an effort to reduce a global glut of crude.

Brent crude was down 21 cents, or 0.41 per cent, at $50.59 a barrel. U.S. crude was down 37 cents, or 0.77 per cent, at $47.60 per barrel.