Stocks Decline to Start the Week

By Marina Force Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks opened the week lower as investors continued to monitor the prospects of a U.S. tax-overhaul plan.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 69 points, or 0.3%, to 23353 shortly after the opening bell. The S&P 500 declined 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.3%.

The S&P 500 and Dow industrials logged their first weekly declines since September on Friday, something some investors and analysts attributed to uncertainty around the status of policy changes in Washington. Senate and House Republicans have released two different bills that diverge in some key areas, including the timing of a corporate tax cut.

"I think we will eventually see some tax bill, but the timing is highly uncertain as the Senate bill is really different" from the one in the House, said Zhiwei Ren, managing director at Penn Mutual Asset Management. "So there will be a lot of back-and-forth negotiation to get it passed."

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 was 1% lower, led by losses in financial services and mining stocks.

The British pound dropped 0.4% against the U.S. dollar after reports said as many as 40 Conservative members of Parliament had agreed to sign a letter of no confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May.

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Some investors warned that the disunity within the ruling Conservative party could weigh on Brexit talks and diminish the probability of an extended transitional arrangement, which some analysts say would be beneficial for the economy.

"I think the vulnerability in terms of the government and the lack of unity within the Conservative party means that the political backdrop for smooth Brexit negotiations has probably decreased slightly," said Mark Richards, multiasset strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

Later this week, analysts say they will be eyeing addresses by central bank leaders, with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen both set to speak Tuesday.

Analysts will also be watching for the latest consumer-price index reading due Wednesday, which they say could shed light on the state of inflation. While the Federal Reserve is widely expected to increase rates in December, a soft inflation reading could fuel the debate around the flattening of the U.S. yield curve.

Government bonds edged higher Monday, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note falling to 2.381%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.397% Friday. Yields fall as bond prices rise.

Earlier in Asia, most major stock indexes logged declines.

After seeing its biggest drop percentage-wise in two months Friday, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 1.3% despite a pullback in the yen.

In South Korea, the Kospi index closed down 0.5%, while Hong Kong's benchmark index got a boost from technology stocks. The Hang Seng Index was up 0.2%, closing at its highest level since December 2007.

Ese Erheriene and Akane Otani contributed to this article.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 13, 2017 10:04 ET (15:04 GMT)