U.S. stocks suffered heavy losses this week, while the dollar also fell, as President Donald Trump failed to convince conservatives to support his repeal of Obamacare.
The large-cap S&P 500 Index declined 1.4% for the week to end at 2,343.98. It was the index’s second weekly decline and worst settlement since the start of January. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 1.5% to finish at 20,596.72.
Investors’ mood soured near the end of the week after House Republicans failed to vote on critical healthcare legislation. Trump’s proposed repeal of Obamacare was later rejected by both moderates and conservatives within his own party, casting doubt on the president’s ability to implement his pro-growth agenda in the months ahead.
Analysts say the failed health bill also sets the stage for increased volatility next week as investors divest from the so-called Trump rally.
Most of the weekly losses on Wall Street happened on Tuesday, the day President Trump travelled to Capitol Hill to shore up support for his proposed bill. The benchmark averages recorded their biggest single-day decline of the year, triggering widespread concerns of a broader correction.
Declines in the U.S. had a domino effect on global markets, with Asian and European stocks following suit. European stocks traded lower in four out of five trading days, booking losses for the week.
In currencies, the U.S. dollar consolidated near four-month lows against a basket of peers, as the post-FOMC selloff continued. The dollar index has declined 2% since the Federal Reserve voted to raise interest rates March 15.
Losses for the dollar were accompanied by brisk gains for the euro, pound and yen, which traded at more than one-month highs.
A weaker greenback provided a tailwind for precious metals, which extended their rebound this week. Gold futures settled at $1,251.70 a troy ounce on Friday, having gained $50 over the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, crude oil consolidated below $48.00 a barrel after data from Baker Hughes Inc. revealed another sizable weekly rise in active U.S. oil rigs. The number of active rigs drilling on U.S. soil rose by 21 to 652 in the latest week, a sign shale producers were ramping up production.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures settled at $47.97 a barrel Friday. Brent crude, the international futures benchmark, closed at $50.80 a barrel.
Reaction from the failed healthcare bill will be the talk of the market next week, while a steady stream of economic data and central bank speeches will also keep investors preoccupied. More than half a dozen Federal Reserve officials will deliver speeches in the final week of March, offering potential clues about the path of monetary policy.
On the economic calendar, German inflation and U.S. personal income and outlays will make headlines throughout the week. Revised fourth quarter GDP figures from Washington and the United Kingdom will also be on investors’ radar.