U.S. stocks fall sharply on Trump controversy

By on May 18, 2017


U.S. stocks fell sharply on Wednesday as investors feared that turmoil in Washington would weigh on the market and Trump administration's reform agenda would be slowed down.(Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
U.S. stocks fell sharply on Wednesday as investors feared that turmoil in Washington would weigh on the market and Trump administration’s reform agenda would be slowed down.(Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

NEW YORK—U.S. stocks fell sharply on Wednesday as investors feared that turmoil in Washington would weigh on the market and Trump administration’s reform agenda would be slowed down.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 372.82 points, or 1.78 percent, to 20,606.93. The S&P 500 lost 43.64 points, or 1.82 percent, to 2,357.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 158.63 points, or 2.57 percent, to 6,011.24.

The White House on Tuesday pushed back against a new wave of media allegations that Trump might have tried to obstruct justice by asking ex-FBI Director James Comey to end a probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

“I hope you can let this go,” Trump told Comey at the time, according to a New York Times report, quoting two people who read the memo Comey wrote shortly after meeting with Trump in the Oval Office one day after Flynn resigned over a Russia-related scandal in February.

Investors have been shocked by the news and worried Trump’s ability to deliver on business-friendly policies.

U.S. stocks have posted solid gains since the presidential election, with the S&P and Nasdaq notching all-time highs earlier this week, in part because of the hope for tax reform plan.

Meanwhile, the first quarter earnings season has also been in focus. The latest data from Thomson Reuters showed that the S&P 500 companies’ blended earnings in the first quarter of 2017 are expected to rise 14.7 percent year on year, while the revenues are forecast to increase 7.2 percent.

U.S. stocks wavered and traded in a narrow range Tuesday, as Wall Street mainly digested Home Depot’s better-than-expected quarterly results and newly-released economic data.