Global stock markets traded on a soft note Wednesday after Wall Street fell for a second day following U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments about reducing drug prices.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.2 percent at 7,325 while the CAC 40 in France was flat at 4,953. Germany’s DAX was up 0.1 percent at 11,976. Wall Street was poised for a flat open with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures unchanged.
TRUMP WATCH: Trump tweeted Tuesday before the stock market opened that he is working on “a new system” to reduce drug prices and bring competition to the industry. Pharmaceutical stocks fell, especially those of biotechnology companies, which make drugs that are complicated to engineer and can be extremely expensive. In January, Trump accused drugmakers of “getting away with murder” on drug prices. He later held an apparently friendly meeting with industry executives at the White House and said he wants to speed up the drug approval process, which could bring costs down for drug companies.
ANALYST TAKE: “As has been the case for several companies since the election, pharmaceuticals learned last night that just a single tweet can wipe hundreds of millions off their valuation,” said David Cheetham, chief market analyst at XTB.
FED FOCUS: There’s also a focus on the Federal Reserve ahead of next week’s meeting which many in the markets think will herald another interest rate hike. Whether one materializes could hinge on this Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report for February.
ASIA’S DAY: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index shed 0.5 percent to 19,254.03 and the Shanghai Composite Index was unchanged at 3,240.66. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.4 percent to 23,786.31 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 ended unchanged at 5,759.70. India’s Sensex lost 0.3 percent to 28,924.56, while Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta also declined. Seoul’s Kospi was unchanged at 2,095.41 while New Zealand, Taiwan and Singapore gained.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 56 cents to $52.58 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 48 cents to $55.44 in London.
CURRENCY: The euro was down 0.1 percent at $1.0555 while the dollar rose 0.3 percent to 114.33 yen.