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US equities opened lower in New York trade, following earlier losses in Europe on weak corporate earnings, with anticipation building ahead of US President Donald Trump’s speech later today at a conservative political conference.

After locking in a record 10th day of record closing highs on Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3 per cent at the open to 20,746, while the S&P 500 declined 0.44 per cent to 2,353 and the Nasdaq Composite was off more than 0.5 per cent at 5,804.

Mr Trump is scheduled to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference at 10:20 am in Maryland, adding to market nerves over what he might say to the group of right-wing activists.

After four weeks of gains, gold rose another 0.8 per cent to $1,259 on comments from the US Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, who said on Thursday that he expects low interest rates to continue. The price was the highest since Mr Trump’s election, as optimism over “reflation trade” has faded.

Likewise, US Treasury yields were at a two-week low as investors flocked to the safe haven asset. The yield on the 10-year note, which moves inversely to price, was down 3.5 basis points to 2.34 per cent.

Globally, stocks were weaker with the Euro Stoxx 600 down 1.3 per cent, while the FTSE 100 lost 0.9 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei index was also 0.5 per cent lower, and China’s Hang Seng fell 0.6 per cent.

On the US corporate calendar, JC Penney said in its earnings announcement that it plans to shutter up to 140 stores, while Foot Locker beat earnings expectations. Elsewhere, Cabot Oil reported earnings in line with estimates, and Mexico’s Coca Cola Femsa reported a rise in quarterly profits.

Data on new home sales from the commerce department and the US rig count from Baker Hughes was also due.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.

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