Saturday, February 24, 2018 | ePaper
World equities wobble as Trump health bill vote canceled
World equity markets wobbled Friday, with US stocks finishing mostly lower, as investors monitored a swirl of negotiations surrounding President Donald Trump's health care replacement bill, before the surprise decision to cancel the vote in Congress.
The fate of the repeal of former president Barack Obama's signature legislation has been seen by US and international investors as a critical early test for the Trump administration's capacity to push its agenda through Washington.
Expectations for pro-growth policies from Washington have fueled a worldwide stock rally since Trump's election win in November.
The health care replacement was heading for almost certain defeat before congressional leaders canceled the vote at Trump's request just before it was to take place Friday afternoon, despite pressure from Trump in person Thursday and in tweets Friday morning to pass the bill.
Stocks hit session lows shortly before the decision to pull the plug on the bill, but the market regained some ground after the news became public that the vote would not happen.
The late rebound, which was not enough to lift the Dow and the S&P 500 into positive territory, appeared to stem from the idea that canceling the vote was a better outcome than an actual defeat.
"It's a setback but the market is telling you it's a minor setback," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.