Stocks fluctuated, the dollar weakened slightly and buying picked up in Treasurys as President-elect Donald Trump slammed the drug industry in comments to the press and vowed health-care costs would be cheaper in America.
But Trump did not discuss infrastructure spending or tax cuts that the markets had been hoping to get more details on from his first news briefing since the election. He did say, however — not for the first time — that companies that move out of the United States and then sell goods back into America would be taxed at the border.
“Pharma has a lot of lobbyists, a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power, and there’s very little bidding on drugs. We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world yet we don’t bid properly,” he said. “We’re going to start bidding, we’re going to save billions of dollars over a period of time and we’re going to do that with a lot of other industries.”
Trump began speaking just around 11:19 a.m. ET Wednesday morning, and the Dow, already rising, moved higher to a 100-point gain. But then stocks turned lower as he discussed the drug sector, but recovered ground as he continued.
“The dollar weakened against the euro. I think it’s been because they’ve been waiting for the stimulus talk and there hasn’t been anything,” said Marc Chandler, head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman. The Mexican peso also continued to weaken against the dollar, and it is now down about 20 percent since the election.
Mexico has been a particular target of Trump, who has asked automakers to reverse decisions to put production there and has said the country would pay for a wall along its border.
The S&P 500 was lower at midday and the Nasdaq gave up its early gains, pulled down by declines in biotech. The iShares Nasdaq Biotech Index ETF was down 3.4 percent.
The 10-year Treasury yield moved slightly and was at 2.37 percent.