By Jon Sindreu and Aaron Kuriloff
The postelection rally in U.S. stocks and selloff in government bonds both stalled midweek.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average Wednesday fell 63 points, or 0.3%, to 18860, after closing at an all-time high Tuesday for the fourth day in a row. The S&P 500 fell 0.3% while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.2%.
Banks retraced some of their recent gains, as financial shares in the S&P 500 fell 1.4%. Lenders were among the main companies swept up in investors' surge of enthusiasm for the prospect of expansive fiscal spending, tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks under a Republican-controlled government.
Health-care, materials and industrials shares also slipped Wednesday, after Mr. Trump's pledges to ramp up infrastructure spending and revamp Obamacare spurred postelection gains in those sectors.
Some analysts said investors' concern about the impact that Mr. Trump's protectionist policies could have on the global economy could damp enthusiasm for the possibility of increased government spending.
"Markets are currently optimistic about Trump's fiscal expansion in the U.S. next year, and downplaying risks of a more deflationary protectionist policy mix. This might be right," said Rob Carnell, London-based analyst at Dutch bank ING. "That said, it places most of the risk on the downside, should expansion take longer to materialize than expected, or protectionism rear up more strongly than anticipated."
U.S. government bond prices steadied, after tepid economic data reduced postelection selling. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was 2.225%, according to Tradeweb, compared with 2.240% Tuesday.
Yields began to decline as prices rose Wednesday after the Labor Department said U.S. business prices stayed flat in October, signaling muted inflation pressures that contrasted with expectations for an increase next year.
The expectation that inflation will pick up under a Trump administration has hurt bonds, because it means central banks may need to start reversing years of ultraloose policies, which have been a boon for fixed income. Inflation also erodes the fixed return on bonds.
Steeper yield curves have also provided a helping hand to banks, whose business model is based on borrowing short term and lending long term. Meanwhile, stocks considered as safer bond proxies for their steady income, such as utilities, are down since the election.
One question for investors now is whether the recent bond selloff will resume before more concrete details about Mr. Trump's policies emerge.
"Our view is that rates have room to go higher," said Annika Eiremo, a fund manager at Janus Capital Group Inc., a company with $195 billion under management. Still, "it's still early stages of a very uncertain time period in terms of what policy will be," she said.
According to Markus Allenspach, head of fixed-income research at Swiss private bank Julius Baer, Mr. Trump's concessions to the Republican Party's establishment -- like the selection of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as his chief of staff -- and central bank stimulus in Europe and Japan are likely to limit how low bonds can go.
"I wouldn't rule out that we now have a period of consolidation," he said.
Financial markets' optimistic reaction to the outcome of the election seems to clear the way for the U.S. Federal Reserve to nudge up interest rates in its long-awaited December policy meeting. Federal funds futures, used by traders to bet on central bank moves, on Wednesday showed a 91% chance of a rate rise in December, according to CME Group.
Signs of earnings growth in the third quarter reinforces the case for tighter monetary policy, investors say.
"I think markets are putting the Fed in a place where it has to raise [interest rates]," said Jamie Cox, managing director for Virginia-based Harris Financial Group. "The Fed would probably prefer not to, but it has no choice with fiscal policy in the horizon."
Expectations of higher interest rates have pushed up the U.S. dollar. According to the WSJ Dollar Index, which measures it against a basket of 16 other currencies, the dollar is at its strongest levels since February.
Copper and aluminum prices, which are regarded as gauges of global economic output, fell by about 1.8% and 2% respectively Wednesday, but this was after reaching one-year highs last week. Oil prices rose, with U.S. crude trading 0.1% higher at $45.87 a barrel.
In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 reversed morning gains and was recently down 0.%, as banks surrendered some of last week's rally. The financial sector did boost Asian stock markets, however, with the Japanese Nikkei 225 closing 1.1% higher.
contributed to this article.
Write to Jon Sindreu at email@example.com and Aaron Kuriloff at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 16, 2016 12:13 ET (17:13 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.