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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks waver on Trump agenda concerns, dollar gains
August 24, 2017 / 4:36 PM / 3 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks waver on Trump agenda concerns, dollar gains

(Adds U.S. market open, byline, dateline; previous LONDON)

* MSCI world index little changed as Wall Street slides

* Markets await news from Jackson Hole bankers’ meeting

* Dollar rebounds after recent weakness

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, Aug 24 (Reuters) - A gauge of global equity markets was little changed on Thursday amid investor worries over U.S. government funding, but the U.S. dollar rebounded after recent weakness as central bankers convened for an annual policy summit at Jackson Hole in Wyoming.

Yields on U.S. Treasury debt rose in light trading as investors waited on speeches scheduled for Friday by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.

The annual central bankers’ retreat comes amid fresh indications of global growth, with copper rising to a near three-year high on signs of stronger demand in top consumer China as inventories fell in London warehouses.

U.S. equities fell amid concerns over President Donald Trump’s ability to usher legislation through Congress, said Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“Investors are reluctant to get too far out on their skis in terms of buying stocks,” Meckler said. “Rallies are not extending the way they had when people had more confidence that the Trump agenda, particularly tax cuts, would be passed.”

In a post on Twitter, Trump said Congress could have avoided a legislative “mess” if they had heeded his advice on raising the amount of money the government can borrow, known as the debt ceiling.

A late-September deadline looms for U.S. officials to raise the debt ceiling or risk defaulting on debt payments, leading investors to anticipate a volatile month, said Michael Purves, chief global strategist and head of equity derivatives research at Weeden & Co in Greenwich, Connecticut.

“Why would you rush to buy this dip with the debt ceiling looming?” Purves said.

MSCI’s broad index of world stock markets was little changed, shedding just 0.02 percent, but the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional shares in Europe closed 0.33 percent higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 13.12 points, or 0.06 percent, to 21,798.97. The S&P 500 lost 3.69 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,440.35 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 19.70 points, or 0.31 percent, to 6,258.71.

The dollar rebounded, helped by better-than-expected U.S. initial jobless claims, which rose 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 for the week ended Aug 19.

The greenback has dropped 14 percent against the euro this year, driven by dashed expectations for tax cuts and other pro-growth plans by the Trump administration, which has weakened the case for further pro-dollar rises in U.S. interest rates.

The dollar index rose 0.11 percent, while the euro fell 0.03 percent to $1.1802 and the Japanese yen eased 0.25 percent versus the greenback at 109.32 per dollar.

German bond yields were pinned near eight-week lows. Demand for the country’s top-rated debt was supported by expectations for a cautious message from the Jackson Hole summit as well as Trump’s threat on Tuesday to shut down the U.S. government if Congress failed to secure funding for his long-promised wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

German 10-year bond yields were a tad higher at 0.38 percent , having briefly touched a fresh eight-week low of 0.37 percent.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 4/32 in price to yield 2.1851 percent, from 2.171 percent late on Wednesday.

Editing by Bernadette Baum

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