March 6, 2017 / 12:51 AM / 5 months ago

Trump tweets hurt equities; U.S. dollar gains

5 Min Read

Traders work at their desks in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 1, 2017.Ralph Orlowski

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equity markets fell on Monday as U.S. President Donald Trump's allegations that he was wiretapped by his predecessor raised worries about his ability to push ahead with tax reform plans, while the dollar rose on concerns that an anti-EU candidate may be elected France's next president.

Trump offered no evidence in a series of tweets on Saturday that President Barack Obama had wiretapped him. The allegations, combined with rising scrutiny of Trump's campaign's contacts with Russia, put a damper on investor enthusiasm for stocks.

Alain Juppe, who served as French prime minister from 1995 to 1997, said he would not seek his country's presidency in the April elections, a development seen as likely boosting the candidacy of far-right party leader Marine Le Pen.

A poll last week showed that if Juppe replaced the scandal-hit Francois Fillon as candidate, he could win the election's first round of voting in a scenario that would likely knock the anti euro, anti-European Union Le Pen out of the race.

The news sent the euro 0.34 percent lower, to $1.0584 EUR=, while the dollar rose by 0.13 percent against an index of six major world currencies .DXY, to 101.670.

Stocks on Wall Street fell, following a retreat in European shares, which were weighed by a sharp fall in Deutsche Bank shares after the German lender unveiled an 8 billion euro cash call as part of a major reorganization.

Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) closed down 7.89 percent, making the stock the biggest drag to the FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3. The pan-European gauge of leading regional shares closed down 0.54 percent at 1,472.94.

European stock market losses were limited by fresh deal-making activity in the auto and asset management sectors, which helped the index stay less than 1 percentage point below a 15-month peak hit last week.

MSCI's all-country index of worldwide stocks .MIWD00000PUS fell 0.17 percent as concerns about Trump's ability to see his economic agenda through weighed on equity markets.

The benchmark S&P 500 index has gained about 11 percent since Trump's victory in November, as investors also bet on a cutback in regulations and increased infrastructure spending.

"The market has rallied significantly on the idea that some of the Trump business proposals, particularly the tax proposals, would be implemented," said Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.

"Distractions over the weekend cause people to rethink whether the administration will be bogged down in other issues," he said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI closed down 51.37 points, or 0.24 percent, to 20,954.34. The S&P 500 .SPX lost 7.81 points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,375.31 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 21.58 points, or 0.37 percent, to 5,849.18.

Oil prices see-sawed after Iraq's oil minister said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would likely need to extend its production cuts into the second half of 2017.

Those remarks were tempered by a forecast of potential shale oil growth from the U.S. International Energy Agency.

Crude has been range-bound for more than 60 days, constrained by concerns that U.S. output may counter OPEC's agreement to reduce output during the first half of the year.

Brent crude LCOc1 rose 11 cents to settle at $56.01 a barrel while U.S. crude CLc1 settled down 13 cents a barrel at $53.20. [O/R]

U.S. Treasury prices fell. The benchmark 10-year Treasury US10YT=RR was down 1/32 to yield 2.4961 percent.

In Europe, high-grade euro zone government bond yields edged lower on expectations the European Central Bank will maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy stance this week.

Germany's benchmark 10-year Bund yield fell 1.2 basis points to 0.345 percent DE10YT=TWEB, off a two-week high hit onFriday.

Gold fell for a third straight session, pressured by comments last week from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that reinforced expectations of an increase in U.S. interest rates later this month.

U.S. gold futures GCcv1 settled down 0.08 percent at $1,225.50.

Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Leslie Adler

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