Wall St. slips on President Trump's protectionist views

January 23rd, 2017  |  Source: Reuters

U.S. stocks lost ground on Monday as investors digested President Donald Trump's protectionist statements and sought safe-haven assets such as gold and U.S. Treasury bonds.

Trump, who met with a dozen prominent American manufacturers at the White House, said he would slash regulations and cut corporate taxes to boost the economy.

He, however, reinforced his stance of putting "America first" by warning manufacturers of penalties if they moved production outside the country.

The Trump trade, which led Wall Street to repeated highs since the election, has unraveled in recent weeks as investors fret about the potential impact of his isolationist stance on world trade and the lack of clarity on his policies.

"I think the market wants to see more definitive statements like how healthcare and tax reforms get played out, so there is no reason for it to be excited," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth.

At 10:55 a.m. ET (1555 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 65.9 points, or 0.33 percent, at 19,761.35, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 9.93 points, or 0.43 percent, at 2,261.38 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 22.81 points, or 0.41 percent, at 5,532.52.

Trump has made it clear that he plans to hold talks with leaders of Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and intends to withdraw from the 12-nation trade pact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The dollar .DXY hit a six-week low on Monday, while prices of safe-haven gold rose for the third straight day.

Oil prices fell about 1 percent on signs of strong U.S. drilling activity. The S&P energy index .SPNY hit its lowest level since Nov. 30.

Eight other S&P sectors were also lower. Safe-haven stocks utilities .SPLRCU and real-estate .SPLRCR were the outliers.

Qualcomm (QCOM.O) dropped 13.4 percent to $54.44 after Apple (AAPL.O) filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the chip supplier on Friday. Qualcomm was the biggest drag on the S&P and the Nasdaq, while Apple's stock was flat.

Halliburton (HAL.N) fell 3.4 percent after the world's No. 2 oilfield services provider reported a bigger loss in the latest quarter.

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