Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Friday, February 17:
1. Trump offers no policy details in first news conference
Donald Trump gave his first solo press conference as President late on Thursday but concentrated his remarks on defense of his administration and attacks on journalistic coverage.
"The press is out of control," he said. "The level of dishonesty is out of control."
The appearance offered no further details of his planned fiscal policies and tax cuts, leaving investors concerned about the fact that the President will still need to get approval from the U.S. Congress for any action he plans to take to spur the economy.
2. Global stocks move lower as Trump disappoints
Global stocks traded broadly lower on Friday as Trump’s press conference failed to fuel further buying in equities and a sparse economic calendar left traders with little options other than to lock in profits after recent record highs.
U.S. futures showed average losses of about 0.3%, pointing to lower open on Friday after a mixed close the prior day. Trade volume was expected to be muted given the lack of major economic reports stateside and the fact that many traders may opt to close shop early given the three-day weekend with markets closed the following Monday for Washington’s Birthday.
European stocks moved lower on Friday, as markets paused following sharp gains earlier in the week and as investors focused on a fresh batch of corporate earnings reports.
Earlier, Asia closed lower as investors appeared disappointed by the lack of details at Trump’s press conference and kept eyes on Samsung (KS:005930) and Toshiba.
Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee was arrested on Friday over his alleged role in a corruption scandal rocking the highest levels of power in South Korea, dealing a fresh blow to the technology giant and standard-bearer for Asia's fourth-largest economy.
Meanwhile, shares of Toshiba Corp. (T:6502) sank 9% as Standard & Poor’s said in a report on Friday that it could cut its credit rating by several notches should the Japanese firm receive financial support that includes debt restructuring,
3. Oil heads for first weekly decline in 5 weeks
Oil was slightly lower Friday, extending losses in what looked to be its first weekly decline in five weeks.
Crude chalked up losses this week as the Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that U.S. stockpiles of crude and gasoline hit record highs.
Oil prices have been stuck in a narrow range around the lower-to-mid-$50s over the past two months as investors weigh the impact of cuts in supply from the historic OPEC/non-OPEC agreement against record stockpiles of crude and increased drilling activity in the United States.
On that last note, investors also looked ahead to the Baker Hughes U.S. rig count data for the latest week.
The number of rigs operating in the U.S. in the prior week increased by 8 last week, the 14th gain in 15 weeks. At 591 active rigs, the count was at its highest since October 2015 and nearly double the figure seen seven months ago.
4. Gold heads for seventh weekly gain in eight weeks
Gold Futures managed to edge forward on Friday in early morning U.S. hours, recovering from earlier losses.
The precious metal remained trading not far from a three-month high and was set for its seventh weekly gain in eight weeks.
Some analysts have cautioned that the safe haven asset may be vulnerable as U.S. stocks remained near record highs amid optimism for the Trump administration’s plan to deliver tax reforms.
5. Dollar recovers from biggest drop this month
The dollar edged higher against other major currencies on Friday, recovering from what had, a day earlier, been its biggest drop since January 31.
The greenback eased off a one-week low as optimism over recent comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and upbeat U.S. economic reports resurfaced mildly and supported the currency.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, rose 0.24% to 100.69 by 6:11AM ET (11:11GMT).
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