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While you were sleeping: Wall St eases

Friday 17th February 2017

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Wall Street slipped, retreating after earlier touching fresh record highs, as investors reassessed valuations while waiting for details of US President Donald Trump’s “phenomenal” tax plans.

"Some of these policies are game changers to certain sectors, and the market is being somewhat rational in terms of taking a bit of a breather before we have more facts as opposed to plans or intention," Tracy Maeter, global investment specialist at JP Morgan Private Bank in Philadelphia, told Reuters. 

In 1.06pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.3 percent. In 12.51pm trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slid 0.1 percent.

US Treasuries rose, pushing yields on the benchmark 10-year note four basis points lower to 2.45 percent. 

Stocks reversed earlier gains, when the Dow touched a record high 20,639.87, while the S&P 500 reached a high of 2,351.31, and the Nasdaq hit 5,835.15.

“Whilst in the short-term markets are residing in overbought territory and are vulnerable to rounds of profit-taking, overall sentiment remains positive with no obvious reason at this stage why the move to the upside should come to halt any time soon,” City of London Markets trader Markus Huber wrote in a note, Bloomberg reported.

The Dow fell as declines in shares of Chevron and those of Caterpillar, recently down 1.2 percent and 1 percent respectively, outweighed gains in shares of Cisco and those of Coca-Cola, recently up 2.9 percent and 1.9 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, shares of Dean Foods slumped, trading 7.5 percent weaker as of 12.08pm in New York, after the largest US dairy processor predicted earnings that fell short of expectations amid lower demand for milk.

"In the first quarter, we expect dairy commodity inflation of nearly 20 percent and a roughly 1 percent decline in total volume performance versus prior year," Dean Foods Chief Executive Officer Ralph Scozzafava said in a statement.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the session with a 0.4 percent decline from the previous close. Both Germany’s DAX Index and the UK’s FTSE 100 Index retreated 0.3 percent, while France’s CAC 40 Index slid 0.5 percent.

Switzerland’s Nestle abandoned its longtime organic sales-growth target of between 5 percent and 6 percent, predicting an increase of between 2 percent and 4 percent this year. The world's largest packaged-food company also said restructuring costs will rise.

"It is a kind of a back-to-reality," Pierre Tegner, an analyst at Natixis, said in a note, Bloomberg reported. "The outlook shows that there is a lot to do."

Shares of Nestle closed 1 percent lower in Zurich.

"We're in a period of an unprecedented fast-moving change in the consumer-goods industry," Nestle CEO Mark Schneider told Bloomberg. "Speed of execution, getting stuff done and implemented, recognising new customer trends or efficiency trends and not kicking the can down the road, that's key."

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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