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FTSE and Dow both fall

Markets shudder as Trump turmoil escalates

Stock markets settled after early falls as uncertainty grew over US President Donald Trump’s future in the White House.

The FTSE 100 regained a little ground but remains down, shedding 92.04 points at 7,411.43.

US stocks opened lower today as a shadow was cast over the future of Mr Trump’s ambitious pro-growth agenda.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 47.39 points, or 0.23% at 20,559.54, the S&P 500 was down 3.83 points, or 0.16%, at 2,353.2 and the Nasdaq composite fell 13.16 points, or 0.22%, at 5,998.08.

Equities across the Far East markets followed a plunge on Wall Street yesterday, where the Dow and S&P 500 both fell by about 1.8% following reports that Mr Trump tried to influence a federal investigation. The Dow was 372 points lower, its biggest one-day fall since September.

A number of Mr Trump’s own Republican supporters called for an independent probe of possible collusion between his 2016 campaign and Russia. A mention of impeachment caused further ripples of nervousness to creep into market sentiment.

The allegations have not only thrown doubt over the future of the pro-growth policies that Trump promised and have raised the possibility he could be forced out of office.

Howevee, analysts at investment bank Nomura reckons that the chances of Donald Trump being impeached are “low”.

Robert Mueller, a former FBI boss, will oversee an inquiry into Russia’s alleged involvement n the election.

Calls for a special prosecutor have been mounting since last week after Mr Trump sacked FBI director James Comey.

The FBI and Congress are looking into potential links between Mr Trump’s campaign team and Russia. US intelligence agencies believe Moscow tried to tip the election in favour of the Republican.

The reports overshadowed positive news on Japan’s economy which grew at the fastest pace in a year in the first quarter of 2017, according to data released by the government on Thursday.

Real GDP increased by 0.5%, the fifth consecutive quarterly increase and the longest stretch of uninterrupted growth since 2006.

However, the turmoil in the US saw the Nikkei shed 1.5%, while Australian shares lost 1.2% and South Korea’s KOSPI declined 0.5%.

* The pound broke the $1.30 psychological barrier against the dollar today, as UK retail sales rose by 2.3%. The surge in retail figures came as a surprise to analysts, beating expectations after the 1.4% fall in the first quarter. The figures were mostly driven upwards by the timing of Easter as well as a boost to high street spending perhaps afforded by favourable weather.

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