Stocks Drift Lower as Trump’s State of the Union Address Leaves Investors Empty-Handed

U.S. stocks drifted lower on Wednesday after President Trump’s State of the Union address failed to provide any new insight on trade talks or border-security funding. Cryptocurrencies declined virtually across the board following weeks of relative calm.

Stocks Turn Lower

All of Wall Street’s top indexes finished in negative territory. The S&P 500 Index fell 0.2% to 2,731.61, snapping a five-day winning streak. Losses were fairly broad based, with communication services posting the biggest declines. Shares of discretionary companies and materials stocks also declined sharply. On the opposite side of the ledger, modest gains were reported for health care and information technology stocks.

A strong performance in technology failed to spur the Nasdaq to gains. The tech-laden index closed down 0.4% at 7,375.28.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average pared losses to settle down 21.22 points, or 0.1%, at 25,390.30.

U.S. stocks posted their fifth consecutive gain on Tuesday. Read more.

State of the Union Leaves Investors Empty Handed

President Trump delivered his second State of the Union address on Tuesday where he urged his political opponents to “bridge old divisions… and forge new solutions.”

“An economic miracle is taking place in the United States — and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations,” Trump said. “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way!”

The address, which focused heavily on immigration and foreign relations, offered little insight into ongoing trade negotiations with China or the likelihood of a new budget passing before next week’s deadline. Congress must pass a new budget by Feb. 15 to avoid another government shutdown. Trump has threatened to call a national emergency if Congress refuses to fund his $5.7 billion border-security wall.

Cryptos Crumble

After a week of tepid trading, cryptocurrencies resumed their slide on Wednesday with altcoins and tokens shouldering the heaviest losses. Most of the top 20 coins traded lower.

Ethereum’s price dropped to a fresh seven-week low. The developer’s cryptocurrency is currently trading at $104.32, having lost 2.8%. Continue reading: Crypto Update: Ethereum Hits 7-Week Low as Coins Resume Slide.

XRP swung back below 30 cents, a level that has been difficult to sustain for the bulls. The cryptocurrency was last down 3% at $0.2909.

Bitcoin’s price fell by as much as 2% to trade in the low $3,400 range, according to CoinMarketCap. On individual exchanges, BTC fell to the mid-$3,300 region. At this stage, a re-test of the December 2018 low ($3,122) seems imminent.

The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies reached a low of $111 billion, or $11 billion shy of the December bottom. At last check, the market cap was worth $111.4 billion.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi