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US: Wall St opens flat; all eyes on healthcare vote

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 22:18

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[BENGALURU] Wall Street was little changed in early trading on Thursday amid signs that President Donald Trump is struggling to get enough votes to pass a healthcare bill in Congress.

At 9:38 a.m. ET (1338 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 3.47 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 20,664.77, the S&P 500 was up 0.33 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 2,348.78.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 4.05 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 5,817.59.

Trump was set to make a final push to secure the votes to begin dismantling Obamacare in the House of Representatives, with signs that enough Republicans might defect to jeopardise one of his top legislative priorities.

sentifi.com

Market voices on:

Republican leaders hoped to vote on Thursday but there were signs the deadline could be pushed back. Losing or delaying it would bruise investors' confidence in Trump's ability to deliver on his promises of tax cuts and infrastructure spending. "Even if Trump gets the healthcare bill through the House, which is questionable, it's all but certain to fail in the Senate. That seems to be the political wisdom," said John Traynor, chief investment officer at People's United Bank in Bridgeport, Connecticut. "Investors are concerned ... if this vote goes poorly, then what are the implications for tax reform and repatriation of offshore capital."

The S&P 500 has gained 10 per cent since the Nov 8 presidential election, spurred mainly by Trump's campaign promises to enact legislation that are seen as pro-business.

The benchmark index is trading at about 18 times expected forward earnings, compared with a 10-year average of 14, according to Thomson Reuters data.

REUTERS

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