Dollar Drops on Trump Criticism; U.S., Europe Stocks Tepid

The U.S. dollar weakened on Friday against key world currencies as President Donald Trump complained again about its strength, while U.S. and European stock markets were tepid amid fresh tariff talk and another round of corporate earnings.

U.S. government bond yields rose as Trump repeated his criticism a day earlier of the Federal Reserve’s policy on raising interest rates, saying it takes away from the United States’ “big competitive edge.” He also lamented the strength of the dollar and accused the European Union and China of manipulating their currencies.

The dollar was on pace for its biggest single-session drop in three weeks against a basket of six major currencies, stalling a rally that had driven the greenback to a year high.

“The dollar is an important issue today especially because we have been on a rise for quite a long time,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

The dollar index fell 0.59 percent, with the euro up 0.57 percent to $1.1707.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 9.71 points, or 0.04 percent, to 25,074.21, the S&P 500 gained 0.39 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,804.88 and the Nasdaq Composite added 9.01 points, or 0.12 percent, to 7,834.31.

Microsoft shares rose, boosting indexes after a strong earnings report, while General Electric shares sank after the conglomerate cut a key financial target.

In the latest trade salvo, Trump said he was ready to impose tariffs on all $500 billion of imported goods from China.

“The reason we are not up more is the push and pull that has been the case for the past two months,” said Walter Todd, chief investment officer at Greenwood Capital in Greenwood, South Carolina. “That is between what is clearly a very good earnings and economic backdrop in the U.S. contrasted with the risk that trade continues to be a problem.”

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 0.15 percent, amid rising trade tensions.

European auto shares, sensitive to trade tensions as U.S. officials work towards slapping tariffs on car imports, fell 2.1 percent.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.43 percent, helped by Asian markets.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. notes last fell 13/32 in price to yield 2.895 percent, from 2.847 percent late on Thursday.

Oil prices edged up as a weakening dollar and lower expected August oil exports from Saudi Arabia supported the market, offsetting concerns about U.S.-China trade tensions and supply increases.

U.S. crude rose 0.31 percent to $68.45 per barrel and Brent was last at $73.14, up 0.77 percent on the day.

(Additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho in London; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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