(Reuters) - Republican leaders of the House of Representatives pulled legislation to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system from consideration on Friday due to a shortage of votes, despite desperate lobbying by the White House and its allies in Congress, dealing a stiff setback to President Donald Trump.
DANIEL MORGAN, SENIOR PORTFOLIO MANAGER, SYNOVUS TRUST COMPANY, ATLANTA, GEORGIA:
”There’s a bit of a relief rally. There were worries going into it... but it’s a mixed bag.
”It does now open the door for maybe they table the whole thing and just move on, and I would think the next thing on the docket would have to be tax reform. The market, to me, is more interested in tax reform than it is in changing Obamacare.
“In a way, for me, sitting on $600 million worth of investments, I think it’s great. Let’s move and get into tax reform, and then get into the infrastructure bill.”
PETER JANKOVSKIS, CO-CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, OAKBROOK INVESTMENTS LLC, LISLE, ILLINOIS:
“The market is relieved it’s not going to go down to a defeat, and it’s hopeful they’ll come to some sort of agreement over the weekend. The market is hoping for an agreement as a stepping stone to additional agreements.”
“News report suggested that the likely outcome was they were going to lose. I would think the expectations are that they’re pulling it so they can work on it.”
“The last few days, market has sort of traded on the back foot on anticipation of the vote that would happen at some point this week. Generally, risk sentiment has been undermined off of that, especially with this steady drip of news that indicated lacking support for the bill. And now, I think, it sort of lifted that uncertainty, at least temporarily, for the rest of the day. Maybe just lifting the uncertainty premium has markets breathing a sigh of relief for now.”
PARESH UPADHYAYA, DIRECTOR OF CURRENCY STRATEGY, PIONEER INVESTMENTS, BOSTON:
”The initial market interpretation is a positive sign. It seems like it is taking that Trump wants to instead of sinking it, he wants to give it another shot. It seems like they think he is working to get something on his agenda to be passed by Congress. Or perhaps it’s a sign that if healthcare reform is shelved, Trump will focus on tax reform. It’s more a knee jerk reaction.
”There are still a lot of hard questions regardless to tax reform. He can’t force people to change their vote on social media. Good old fashion politicking is needed to build consensus.
“If this stronger dollar has legs, it depends on the next step. If there is a pivot to taxes from healthcare, the market has to see the plan.”
RAHUL SHAH, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, IDEAL ASSET MANAGEMENT, NEW YORK:
”From an investor viewpoint, it shows that Trump will not be able to easily pass his agenda. That being said, healthcare is more difficult to pass than tax cuts and the infrastructure bill that he’s proposing.
”In one sense that’s a negative, but on the other hand it also might give some relief to investors who are concerned about some of Trump’s more controversial proposals like increased tariffs and a border adjustment tax.
“You could see this as a glass half empty or a glass half-full, gridlock is not something that’s unheard of on Wall Street, so I think stocks should be OK going forward.”
“I think the most important thing is that this changes the perception of the relationship between Trump and Congress. For the last few months the assumption has been that Congress would do whatever the Trump plan called for, and that apparently is not going to be the case.”
PETER KENNY, SENIOR MARKET STRATEGIST, GLOBAL MARKETS ADVISORY GROUP, NEW YORK:
”I don’t think it’s going to have a huge impact on equities, although it may have more of an impact on biotech and healthcare.
”This is now an indication that the president’s agenda is probably going to be more ambitious than Congress can manage. It is probably going to mean that equity markets are going to have to factor in a degree of dysfunction that investors were hoping they wouldn’t have to. Which means it will likely have a muted impact on equity performance moving forward.
”There is very little on the horizon as of right now, as a result of this thing being pulled, that is going to fuel a significant move higher in prices. This is largely going to homogenize any sort of volatility moving forward and is probably going to be a cap on any near-term performance in terms of the upside.
“The fact this bill, which the President has said flat-out he will make it work for all Americans in general, can’t pass is an indication this agenda is going to be more ambitious than this Congress can work with. This doesn’t even include the Democrats. It is not just divided between Democrats and Republicans, it is divided between progressives, Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians. It is an indication that investors should not expect the kind of velocity in terms of agenda accomplishments they were expecting when he was elected.”
MARGARET PATEL, SENIOR PORTFOLIO MANAGER, WELLS FARGO ASSET MANAGEMENT, BOSTON:
“It looked like the market was worried that the Trump agenda would get completely bogged down in the healthcare issue, and now that they’ve taken the healthcare issue off the table, I think the market is more optimistic that they can do other things that are more doable that are not so complicated, such as regulatory reform and lowering taxes. It does seem like a positive move to shelve an issue that’s so complex and very expensive no matter what the plan, move on to something that is a little bit easier, which would be lowering taxes.”
BRIAN BATTLE, DIRECTOR OF TRADING, PERFORMANCE TRUST CAPITAL PARTNERS, CHICAGO:
“It didn’t pass and it didn’t fail so any conjecture about the ultimate meaning is premature. President Trump is getting a lesson in varsity Washington politics.”
STOCKS: S&P 500 pares losses to end session down fractionally; Dow ends down 0.29 percent; Nasdaq ends up 0.19 percent
BONDS: 2- and 10-year Treasury yields rise from session lows
FOREX: The dollar index edges up by gains against the euro and yen
Americas Economics and Markets Desk; +1-646 223-6300