Wall St. set to open lower amid uncertainty under Trump

© Reuters. Traders gather for Keane Group, Inc.'s IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City© Reuters. Traders gather for Keane Group, Inc.’s IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks looked set to open lower as investors around the world sought safe-haven assets such as gold and U.S. Treasuries in response to the protectionist sentiments expressed by President Donald Trump in his inauguration speech.

Pledging to put “only America first”, Trump laid out two simple rules after taking oath on Friday – buy American and hire American.

Wall Street hit a series of record highs after Trump’s election in November as investors expected the economy to get a boost from his proposals for tax and regulatory reforms and higher infrastructure spending.

However, the “Trump trade” has unraveled in recent weeks as investors fret about the potential impact of his isolationist stance on world trade and the lack of clarity on his ambitious plans.

“From the standpoint of moving the market, Donald Trump is going to be a trader’s dream because he will create market swings, choppy trading and erratic behavior,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director of Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

“We are sitting near all-time highs but there isn’t anything fresh from earnings or President Trump that is going to make investors run out and buy stocks,” Bakhos said.

Dow e-minis () were down 19 points, or 0.1 percent at 8:25 a.m. ET (1325 GMT), with 22,048 contracts changing hands.

S&P 500 e-minis () were down 4.25 points, or 0.19 percent, with 131,108 contracts traded.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis () were down 9.5 points, or 0.19 percent, on volume of 22,418 contracts.

Trump has made it clear that he plans to hold talks with leaders of Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and intends to withdraw from the 12-nation trade pact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The dollar () hit a six-week low on Monday, while prices of safe-haven gold rose.

Wall Street ended higher, the first in over 50 years under a new president, helped by a thrush of strong quarterly corporate earnings.

Nearly 65 percent of companies that have reported earnings so far have beaten analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

component McDonald’s (N:) slipped 0.4 percent at $ 121.80 premarket even after the fast-food chain said comparable sales at its U.S. restaurants fell less than expected.

Halliburton (N:) fell 0.6 percent after the world’s No. 2 oilfield services provider reported a bigger loss in the latest quarter.

Qualcomm (O:) dropped 4.1 percent to $ 60.33 after Apple (O:) filed a $ 1 billion lawsuit against the chip supplier on Friday.

Perrigo (N:) was off 1.9 percent at $ 73.65 after Jefferies cut its price target.

No major economic data is scheduled for the day.

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