NEW YORK (Reuters) - The euro rose the most in a year against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi fueled market expectations the ECB will reduce stimulus later this year, and the dollar’s weakness helped buoy crude prices.
Stocks on Wall Street finished at session lows after a planned U.S. Senate vote on a healthcare revamp bill was postponed.
The delay in the healthcare vote brought back worries about the time table of President Donald Trump’s business-friendly agenda. More time spent on healthcare pushes back the discussion on a tax reform eagerly eyed by investors and corporations.
The euro posted its largest daily advance versus the dollar in over a year after Draghi, speaking to a conference in Portugal, said the ECB could adjust its policy tools as economic prospects improve in Europe.
The euro peaked for the day at a 10-month high of $1.1349 after the delay in the U.S. Senate vote.
“People are losing confidence in the ability of the (Trump)administration to get anything done,” said Jason Leinwand, founder and chief executive of FirstLine FX in Randolph, New Jersey. “It will slowly grind on the dollar.”
But the Japanese yen weakened 0.44 percent versus the greenback at 112.36 per dollar.
Sterling GBP= was last trading at $1.2819, up 0.78 percent on the day.
On Wall Street the technology sector led stocks lower, with losses extending after the healthcare vote delay.
“The market likes certainty and now there’s uncertainty,” said Peter Costa, president at trading firm Empire Executions Inc. “What is this (health bill) going to look like when this gets out of the next iteration? That uncertainty I think is just having people pause a little bit.
“I also think that when the market gets to certain levels, any type of uncertainty, especially in anything that has to do with the (Trump) administration, will have an adverse effect.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 98.89 points, or 0.46 percent, to 21,310.66, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 19.69 points, or 0.81 percent, to 2,419.38 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 100.53 points, or 1.61 percent, to 6,146.62.
U.S. Treasury yields rose in sympathy with European government debt weakness after Draghi’s comments.
“He surprised the market with that upbeat stance,” said Tom di Galoma, a managing director at Seaport Global in New York. “The European government bond market didn’t take it very well.”
Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes US10YT=RR fell 20/32 in price to yield 2.2051 percent, from 2.137 percent late on Monday.
The Treasury yield curve continued to flatten, with the spread between five-year notes and 30-year bonds US5US30=TWEB dropping to a low of 92.5 basis points, the flattest level since late 2007.
The spread between 2- and 10-year notes US2US10=TWEB widened slightly to 83 basis points, after earlier touching 76.80 basis points, its lowest level since Sept. 2.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen said it is appropriate to raise rates gradually and noted that the U.S. central bank is carefully watching inflation expectations.
The dollar weakness helped boost crude oil futures prices, though the backdrop of a long-standing supply glut kept gains in check.
Tim Evans, Citi Futures’ energy futures specialist, said in a note that oil’s move was “a technical correction after the declines of the past five weeks,” helped along by boosts from a weaker dollar and forecasts for a weekly draw in U.S. crude inventories.
Brent and U.S. crude earlier rose over 2 percent each.
In corporate news, the EU slapped a record 2.42 billion euro fine on Alphabet's GOOGL.O Google, saying it had abused its dominant market position. Google said it was considering an appeal. Alphabet shares fell 2.5 percent.
Gold prices, which tumbled to their lowest level in nearly six weeks on Monday, were supported by the softer dollar but lost shine through the session.
Copper CMCU3 rose 0.90 percent to $5,846.50 a tonne.
Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, additional reporting by Sam Forgione, Devika Krishna Kumar, Lewis krauskopf and Karen Brettell; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Dan Grebler
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