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Trump impeachment risk sees FTSE turn south

Trump impeachment risk sees FTSE turn south

by Daniel Grote, Gavin Lumsden May 17, 2017 at 15:30

Investor concern that US president Donald Trump could face impeachment over the James Comey affair and at the very least see his policy programme delayed weighed on markets this afternoon.

On Wall Street banks were among the main fallers, leading the S&P 500 1% lower to 2,377 while the Nadaq technology index shed 1.2% at 6,097 as controversy over Trump's decision to sack the former FBI director intensified.

Reports that Trump asked Comey to halt an investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn raised the prospect that the president could be charged with obstruction of justice.

This saw the dollar fall against a basket of currencies with the pound stronger at $1.2974 and the euro up at $1.1140, The US currency has given up all its gains since the Trump's election in November. 

In London the FTSE 100 retreated 25 points to 7,496 with property stocks weak after British Land (BLND) said it was cutting its amount of speculative building and warned of uncertainty in the market as Britain leaves the European Union.

Shares in British Land were one of the biggest fallers on the index, down 3.5% at 650p, as the real estate investment trust said it was reducing the amount of land it was developing before securing tenants.

'We have entered a prolonged period of uncertainty and businesses will face a number of headwinds,' the company said in its full-year results.

'Mindful of this background, but facing a clear need to move forward, occupiers are continuing to make decisions, but plans are taking longer to come to fruition.

'We expect Brexit-related headwinds to impact our occupational markets. In offices, it will be some years before we have clarity on the impact of proposed regulatory changes which may affect occupier demand, particularly in financial services.'

British Land's warning hit other real estate investment trusts in the FTSE 100. Land Securities (LAND) dipped 1.2% at £11.18 and Intu Properties (INTUP) fell 1.9% to 268.4p.

'British Land is clearly uncomfortable about the future,' said Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. 'Speculative developments have been reined right back and leverage is falling as the group sells some high profile assets, including a 50% stake in the Cheesegrater. That's sensible given the group's disproportionate exposure to the prestige London office space most likely to be hit if Brexit results in a mass exodus of bankers, lawyers and the like.'

Lloyds (LLOY) gave up some of its earlier gains prompted by the government selling the last of its remaining stake in the bank to trade 1.3% up at 71p.

Hargreaves Lansdown (HRGV) recovered some ground from yesterday's fall on news of Vanguard's launch of a new platform, up 1.4% at £13.43.

Among 'mid cap' stocks, Sophos (SOPH) initially soared 105p to 407.1p on strong results and a bright outlook but fell back in the afternoon to trade 6% higher at 390.6p. Shares in the cyber security firm are up 20% this week, after the WannaCry virus sparked demand for the sector.

Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) was the biggest faller, down 5.2% at 260p as the pub operator warned of 'fragile' consumer confidence.

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Comments  (6)

  • SDRL: 

    There will be no impeachment. This is the time to buy stocks on nice pull backs. The pull back has less to do with President Trump and more to do with big market gains. With such gains this is a mild correction.

    18:25 on 17 May 2017

  • Mickey: 

    New York Times and Washington Post etc will not rest until they have brought down the elected Government, perhaps we are seeing the power of the cities versus the 'deplorables' which has plenty of fuel in the tank.

    20:27 on 17 May 2017

  • SDRL: 

    The New York Times and The Washington Post are far from creditable sources. These news sources rely on the internet for their content delivery resulting in less papers being printed. Since the emergence of internet news these papers along with other newspapers have sacked a lot of their seasoned veterans and replaced then with novice youngsters. Young folks are turning away from journalism school because of the lack of opportunities in the low paying field which results in less qualified candidates The talking heads at Bloomberg and CNBC are for the most part very young and not very good at nuances of the stock market. The NYTs and the WP now make their money like any internet business by the number of eyeball clicking at their websites. So, those articles are written for the most by youngsters with limited abilities who will work for low wages. The issue is that the Donald Trump stories are sensationalism to yield more eyeballs and thus greater income for the news organization. Donald Trump will not be impeached because all the accusations are baseless,

    21:19 on 17 May 2017

  • Christopher: 

    Wait for the midterm fund raising season to start. That will show if SDRL is right or blowing in the wind

    21:40 on 17 May 2017

  • SDRL: 

    I am talking from a legal perspective and informing readers about the state of journalism in the US. That is not impacted by fund raising. If there was any shred of evidence after all these months it would have been uncovered by US House and US senate investing committees and the FBI. After all these months not one disclosure of wrong doing was disclosed from these 3 investigations. This is just eyeball marketing for the news organizations. There will be no impeachment.

    21:57 on 17 May 2017

  • Christopher: 

    Fine that's your view. We'll see.

    22:15 on 17 May 2017

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