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US stocks came off their record highs to trade modestly lower on Wednesday as equities investors appeared unfazed by President Donald Trump’s surprise firing of FBI director James Comey last night.

After setting fresh all time highs in the prior day session, both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were down 0.1 per cent in early trade at 2,394.50 and 6,115.33 respectively. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3 per cent as losses in more heavily weighted stocks such as Walt Disney and Apple offset gains elsewhere.

Mr Trump’s abrupt ouster of Mr Comey, who has been leading the agency’s probe into whether the billionaire’s advisers had colluded with the Russian government to influence the outcome of last year’s presidential election, triggered a torrent of criticism.

House representative John Conyers of Michigan, warned that the move puts the country on the verge of a constitutional crisis.

“Today’s action by President Trump completely obliterates any semblance of an independent investigation into Russian efforts to influence our election, and places our nation on the verge of a constitutional crisis,” said Mr Conyers, a Democrat who also sits on the House Judiciary Committee. “There is little doubt that the president’s actions harken our nation back to Watergate.”

Safe-haven assets got a mild bump.

Gold prices were 0.1 per cent higher at $1,222.78 per troy ounce. Yield on the 10-year US Treasury, which moves inversely to price, was 0.025 percentage points higher at 2.372 per cent.

The dollar fell against the Japanese yen, the Swiss franc as well as a number of emerging markets currencies such as the South African rand and the Brazilian real.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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