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Trump developments weigh on global stocks once again

20 Mai 2017

Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 0.3 percent, set for a weekly rise of 0.1 percent. It was dragged down by an 8.8% slump in Brazilian stocks, on a report President Michel Temer supported an attempt to bribe a potential witness to remain silent in the country's biggest-ever graft probe.

In spite of reports that President Trump called the move to name a special counsel to take over the FBI investigation a "witch hunt", U.S. stockmarkets ended the session higher, with the Dow Jones gaining 0.3 per cent and the S&P 500 index moving 0.4 per cent higher. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 edged down 0.2 percent to 5,725.70. India's Sensex gained 0.6 percent to 30,624.67 and shares in Southeast Asia were mixed.

Chinese shares were little changed, up 0.4 per cent for the week. The investigation raised the possibility a second Brazilian president could fall in less than a year and sparked doubts Congress would pass Temer's ambitious austerity agenda.

The Brazilian real was fractionally weaker at 3.3685 per dollar early on Friday, after plunging as much as 8.5 percent to its lowest level since December on Thursday. The decline was the biggest since the currency was devalued in 1999 and wiped out all of this year's gains.

Strong economic indicators from the United States helped lift the USA dollar overnight. The dollar strengthened to 111.39 yen from 111.17 yen.

Data showed a sharp acceleration in factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region in May, and an unexpected drop in new applications for unemployment benefits. Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.4 percent at 7,462.97. The CAC 40 in France was 1 percent lower at 5,263.

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TRADER TALK: "The market is now trying to unwind expectations of "Trumponomics", which includes $1 trillion of infrastructure plans, unprecedented tax reform and financial deregulation", said Margaret Yang, an analyst at CMC Markets. The digital currency has more than doubled since March, driven by soaring demand for crypto-assets with the creation of new tokens to raise funding for start-ups using blockchain technology.

On Thursday, it broke through $1.30 for the first time in nearly eight months after news of better-than-expected British retail sales growth helped ease concerns about the broader economy.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil futures slipped 10 cents to $48.97 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. But it fell back on technical selling and a stronger U.S. dollar to close 0.2% lower. It rose 28 cents to $49.35 a barrel on Thursday.

The euro also climbed 0.1 percent to $1.111.It touched a six-month high on Thursday but surrendered the gains to close 0.5 percent lower.

Global benchmark Brent was up 0.7% at $52.88, after touching a four-week high earlier in the session.

Gold inched higher, clawing back some of Thursday's losses. The Standard & Poor's 500 index had its largest drop since September, sliding 1.8 percent to 2,357.03.

Trump developments weigh on global stocks once again