US stocks edge up, dollar falls as markets eye Trump tax plan

John Biers, Agence France-Presse

Posted at Sep 29 2017 08:10 AM

NEW YORK - US and European stocks won modest gains Thursday, while the dollar pulled back with some analysts pointing to ebbing optimism about Washington's ability to enact a tax cut.

Wall Street scored significant gains Wednesday after the outline of President Donald Trump's long-awaited tax cut was finally released. The proposal would cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent as part of a broader overhaul of the system. 

US stocks rose again Thursday, but the gains were modest, with the S&P 500 edging to a record at 2,5010.06, up 0.1 percent and the Nasdaq essentially flat.

Markets in Paris, Frankfurt and London scored modest gains.

Analysts were heartened by the fact that Trump has worked more closely with Republican congressional leaders on the tax issue than on the failed health care reform they attempted. But there is still a long way to go before the tax proposal becomes law, said Karl Haeling of LBBW.

"Today, people are realizing this is going to be hard work," he said.

The dollar, meanwhile, ran out of gas, following gains earlier in the week due to hopes for the tax plan and commentary from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that was seen as hawkish.

Some analysts said the greenback's retreat was due to profit taking, but others see skepticism about US policies.

"The Trump administration plans to cut taxes and the Federal Reserve's intention to raise interest rates one more time this year should have driven the dollar sharply higher," said Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management. "But instead of rising, the greenback fell because investors are not convinced that the Fed and President Trump will sufficiently deliver."

Lien said the euro could be primed for additional gains ahead of a European Central Bank meeting in October.

Among individual companies, Dow member Chevron rose 0.1 percent after announcing that it had tapped longtime executive Michael Wirth as chief executive and chairman, replacing John Watson effective in February.

Shares in Ryanair fell nearly 4 percent in Dublin as investors came to grips with the low-cost airline cancelling the flights of another 400,000 passengers due to scheduling problems with its pilots.

KEY FIGURES AROUND 2100 GMT (5 a.m. Friday in Manila)

New York - DOW: UP 0.2 percent at 22,381.20 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.1 percent at 2,510.06 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: FLAT at 6,453.45 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,322.82 points (close) 

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.4 percent at 12,704.65 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 5,293.77 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,561.29

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 20,363.11 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.8 percent at 27,421.60 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,339.64 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1784 from $1.1745 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.29 yen from 112.79 yen 

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3439 from $1.3387

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 49 cents at $57.51 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 58 cents at $51.56 per barrel

© Agence France-Presse