The US markets closed mostly lower on Monday, as investors reassessed the prospects for President Donald Trump’s ambitious economic agenda after a Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare was scrapped last week. The failure of the health-care bill, Trump’s first major legislative test as president, raised questions about his ability to push bills through Congress, as well as the unity of the Republican coalition. Markets have rallied since the election on the hope that Trump’s economic proposals - including on taxes and regulation - would accelerate economic growth, and those gains could be at risk if no legislation materializes, especially with stock valuations at lofty levels.
Meanwhile, Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans said that the case for four interest rate hikes in the United States this year is not yet solid and would require a stronger lift in inflation. Evans said he saw three rate hikes in 2017 as plausible, but added that two or four increases were also a possibility. Evans did not detail when he thought the Fed would start trimming its balance sheet, but said there was a discussion around not just when but also what the pace of the asset roll-offs should be. Evans added that long-term inflation expectations may still be running below the US Federal Reserve’s target of 2 percent, though in the shorter term prices are rising toward that figure. Evans did not expect core inflation, which strips out volatile elements like energy prices, would reach the 2 percent target until 2019.
Moreover, Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan said that he would support further interest rate hikes if the US economy takes more steps toward reaching the Fed’s goals of full employment and 2 percent inflation. Kaplan, who votes this year on Fed policy, repeated his view that the economy will likely grow about 2.25 percent this year, but could grow faster, or more slowly, depending in part on the policies the new administration implements. Kaplan added that once the Fed has raised rates a bit further, it will need to start shrinking its massive balance sheet by allowing maturing mortgage-backed securities and Treasuries run off.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 45.74 points or 0.22 percent to 20,550.98, S&P 500 dropped 2.39 points or 0.10 percent to 2,341.59, while the Nasdaq was up 11.63 points or 0.20 percent to 5,840.37.
The Indian ADRs closed mostly in green; HDFC Bank was up 1.13%, Tata Motors was up 1.10%, Infosys was up 0.39% and Wipro was up 0.27%. On the other hand, Dr. Reddy’s Lab was down 3.40%.