Trump trade doubts send dollar, shares tumbling

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[March 27, 2017]  By Jemima Kelly

LONDON (Reuters) - The dollar and share prices tumbled on Monday, as investors worried that U.S. President Donald Trump's defeat over healthcare reform foreshadowed difficulties delivering other key campaign promises, in particular tax cuts and spending.

Trump's failure to rally enough support from his own Republican party to repeal and replace Obamacare spurred a rush to safe haven assets such as gold <XAU=>, the Japanese yen <JPY=> and the Swiss franc <CHF=>.

So-called "Trumpflation trades" - bets that Trump's pro-business policies would stoke growth and inflation in the U.S. and global economies, boosting assets such as commodities - came under heavy selling pressure.

The dollar, whose index had surged more than 6 percent in the aftermath of Trump's election to hit 14-year highs at the start of 2017, slipped to its lowest since Nov. 11, two days after the results of the presidential vote <.DXY>.

"Investors are viewing this setback as a broader loss of faith in the Trump administrationís ability to deliver on other campaign pledges - namely tax and spending policies, which have underpinned asset prices since the U.S. elections," said ING currency strategist Viraj Patel, in London.

U.S. Treasury yields <US10YT=RR> fell to a one-month low of 2.35 percent, while borrowing costs across the euro zone also fell sharply, as investors ditched riskier assets and unwound bets on higher inflation and interest rates. [GVD/EUR]

The fall in risk appetite dominated European stockmarkets, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> falling 0.8 percent on the day. [.EU]

The Basic Resources index <.SXPP> was the biggest sectoral loser, down 2 percent to a two-week low as copper prices slipped, while the banking index <.SX7P> was down 1.3 percent.

And the depressed mood looked set to continue on Wall Street, with U.S. stock index futures <ESc1> falling 1 percent to a six-week low.


Bucking the weaker trend among European stocks were precious metal miners such as Randgold <RRS.L> and Fresnillo <FRES.L>, both up more than 1 percent, as risk aversion boosted gold.

Gold prices climbed more than 1 percent to a one-month high of $1,259 an ounce.

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The safe-haven yen also gained more than 1 percent against the greenback, touching 110.12 yen per dollar, its strongest since mid-November, while the Swiss franc also gained as much as 0.8 percent to trade at its highest levels since Nov. 10.

The euro rose 0.7 percent to a 3-1/2-month high of $1.0874 <EUR=>.

"The markets are continuing to unwind the Trump premium," said BMO Capital Markets currency strategist Stephen Gallo, in London. "We probably are aiming for the (Nov. 8) pre-election lows...that's probably a viable target."

In Asian trading, falls in stock prices were more moderate, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> down 0.1 percent after posting its first weekly decline last week in three weeks.

In terms of relative valuations, U.S. stocks are trading well above their historical averages while Asia stocks are still broadly in line with theirs despite a recent bounce.

"Any big pull back in markets would be an opportunity for long term investment in a region where potential is still intact," said Nicholas Yeo, head of China/Hong Kong equities at Aberdeen Asset Management in Hong Kong, part of a team that manages $374 billion in assets as of end-December 2016.

Japan's Nikkei <.N225>, though, fell 1.5 percent as the yen rebounded in the face of renewed U.S. dollar weakness.

Following the defeat on U.S. healthcare legislation on Friday, the White House warned rebellious conservative lawmakers on Sunday that they should get behind Trump's agenda or he may bypass them on future legislative fights, including tax reform.

(Additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho in London and Saikat Chatterjee in Hong Kong)

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