Investor skittishness over coming policies under soon-to-be-president Donald Trump just days before his inauguration put stocks in the red Tuesday and pushed the Dow down for a third straight session.
Also haunting the market was another weak day for bank stocks, a sector that had performed strong at the start of the so-called “Trump rally” after Election Day but is running into profit taking. Shares of Morgan Stanley (MS) were down nearly 4% despite posting its best fourth-quarter since the financial crisis, while Goldman Sachs (GS) fell 3.3% and Citigroup (C) tumbled 2.1%.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 59 points, or 0.3%, to 19,827, or roughly 175 points shy of 20,000. At its low point, the Dow was down more than 110 points.
Markets were reacting to Trump comments in the Wall Street Journal suggesting that the U.S. dollar is “too strong” and could hurt U.S. multinationals. The president-elect also questioned an alternative tax reform plan being discussed by Republicans in the House of Representatives. A strong dollar hurts sales and earnings of U.S. companies that do a lot of business abroad.
Trump’s comments, not unlike some of his tweets that have caught investors by surprise on individual companies, created fresh uncertainty about what policies will actually be enacted once Trump takes office after Friday’s inauguration. Trump’s latest comments were viewed as new information by Wall Street.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed down almost 7 points, or 0.3%, to 2267.89, while the Nasdaq composite fell 0.6% to 5538.73.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.329%.