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US stocks retreat after Trump shutdown threat

Trump dedicated around half an hour of his 78-minute speech to attacking the "sick people" in the news media, before turning his fire on his own side
Nicholas Kamm (AFP)
Trump lambasts the media and vowed to build the wall 'if we have to close down our government'

Wall Street stocks retreated early Wednesday after President Donald Trump suggested he could shut down the US government if Congress did not fund a border wall with Mexico.

The pullback came after US stocks staged a solid rally Tuesday, in part due to optimism that Trump-related controversies were receding and that long-awaited tax reform could take center stage.

But sentiment was less upbeat again Wednesday following Trump's free-wheeling appearance in Arizona Tuesday night, in which he lambasted the media and vowed to build the wall "if we have to close down our government."

Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare also highlighted a New York Times article on a growing rift between Trump and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, which, together with Arizona, "have covered yesterday's optimism with a wet blanket."

Analysts are also looking ahead to Friday's summit of central bankers, which has sparked unease over a shift from the easy-money policies of recent years.

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 21,831.44, down 0.3 percent.

The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.3 percent to 2,445.60, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.3 percent to 6,279.23.

Wal-Mart Stores rose 0.4 percent and Google parent Alphabet fell 0.2 percent after the two companies announced they were teaming up in an attempt to challenge Amazon's growing dominance in online shopping through voice-activated ordering of goods on Google Express. Amazon dropped 0.8 percent.

Home-improvement retailer Lowe's slumped 5.3 percent after reporting that second-quarter net income was $1.57 per share, four cents below analyst expectations.

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