Friday, 24 March: The major news to hit the wires today was Trump’s all-in gamble to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system. The President issued an ultimatum late last night to Republicans that they must pass the bill he is backing or keep in place the Obamacare law(2010 affordable Care Act), the very law Republicans have sought to dismantle since inception seven years ago. The House of Representatives is set to vote by 20.45 GMT(4.45pm ET) today, and it is looking to be a tougher task than Trump anticipated. The Democrats are unified in opposition, saying the bill would take away medical insurance from millions of Americans and leave the $3tn healthcare system in disarray. Markets in London looked to be struggling for direction(FTSE 100: -0.05%), whilst the S&P 500 shaped as if it would edge higher into the London close. The American market seemed somewhat soothed by Trump’s proclamation that he will apparently sweep the healthcare bill aside should it be defeated and concentrate on his proposed tax reform and infrastructure spending plan, the main concern for investors and the reflation trade.
The change of sentiment regarding the US economy has seen GBP/USD(+1.21%) strengthen over the last seven days, a similar pattern also manifested itself with the GBP/EUR(+0.82%) pair despite the triggering of Article 50 only days away. If you were feeling bullish regarding Brexit you may wish to stop reading – the UK’s spending watchdog has warned that hundreds of civil service jobs for Brexit negotiators remain vacant days before talks formally begin. It looks like it will be a rocky road ahead.
Across Europe, indices were mixed as the FTSE 100 closed -0.05%, the DAX 30 0.20%, and the CAC 40 -0.24%.