Stocks turn lower on U.S. shutdown, growth, trade worries

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A global index of stock markets turned negative on Wednesday as worries over U.S. politics, global economic growth and trade tensions offset a boost from quarterly earnings reports. The U.S. dollar and oil prices also declined.

People walk past the London Stock Exchange Group offices in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

U.S. Treasury yields climbed but analysts expect the $15.6 trillion market to be confined within a tight trading range due to a dearth of incentives from fresh economic data amid the longest-ever U.S. government shutdown.

The U.S. dollar failed to maintain small gains from earlier in the session as uncertainties kept investors on the sidelines and the yen fell after the Bank of Japan kept its stimulus program in place.

“The trade conflicts and tensions, the (U.S. government) shutdown and certainly more chatter about global growth in 2019, those are the factors that need to be hashed out before we get a clear direction,” said Minh Trang, senior currency trader at Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, California.

After falling more than 1 percent a day ago, Wall Street’s three major equity indexes erased earlier gains to turn negative. Strong quarterly reports from Procter & Gamble PG.N, Comcast Corp and International Business Machines offered some support.

But U.S. political uncertainty weighed heavily on investors.

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said in a CNN interview the United States could see zero growth in the first three months if the partial government shutdown is extended for the whole quarter.

“It’s another kick in the shins for investors to be concerned about,” said Chad Morganlander, senior portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors in Florham Park, New Jersey.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 74.9 points, or 0.31 percent, to 24,329.58, the S&P 500

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