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Stock markets wobbly after delayed Trumpcare vote

Reactions of investors worldwide have varied amid a delayed vote on US healthcare reform, whose passage is seen as crucial to Donald Trump's ability to push through his growth agenda.

After the vote on US President Trump's health care bill was delayed, global markets' reactions varied on Friday. In Europe, shares were mostly lower in early trading: Germany's blue-chip DAX index rose 0.1 percent to 12,049 points at the opening, while London's benchmark FTSE 100 index was up by the same percentage points, rising to 7,346. The Paris CAC 40 lost 0.2 percent to 5,023.17 compared with Thursday's close.

The delay brought the four-month rally in global stocks to a juddering halt as the new president struggled to garner enough support from his own Republican party for a bill repealing Obamacare. A vote might not happen until later Friday or Monday.

"Markets are likely to remain on hold today as traders wait on the US Congress to resolve its impasse on revision of the 'Obamacare' legislation," Ric Spooner of CMC Market said. "Optimism may be tempered by the fact that the Senate remains a significant obstacle to Trump's health-care legislation even it is passed by Congress."

The passage of Donald Trump's healthcare reform is seen as crucial to the future of his growth-drive agenda. It is widely feared that the bill's failure would throw a spanner in the works for Trump's other big-ticket pledges on infrastructure spending, tax cuts and deregulation - key drivers of the markets' surge.

Congress analysts have warned that with GOP's Obamacare replacement bill, the number of uninsured people in the US would rise to 52 million by 2026.

Asian markets react much stronger

In contrast to their European counterparts, Asian markets gained on Friday despite doubts over whether President Donald Trump can push through his business friendly agenda.

However, adding to unease was a report that the Trump administration is preparing new executive orders to re-examine all 14 US free trade agreements, including those in Asia, to aid American companies.

Tokyo ended 0.9 percent higher, with exporters lifted by a weaker yen against the dollar, having advanced on the US unit all week. The greenback fell below 111 yen briefly on Thursday but bought 111.42 yen in Asian trade on Friday - although it is well down from the mid-113 yen range seen last Friday. It also rose against the euro and sterling as well as most high-yielding currencies that have enjoyed a rally since the Federal Reserve last week indicated a slower-than-expected pace of interest rate hikes.

Sydney was up 0.8 percent and Shanghai closed 0.6 percent higher while Singapore and Wellington were also stronger. But Hong Kong lost 0.1 percent in the afternoon while Seoul slipped 0.2 percent and Taipei shed 0.3 percent.

Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD, said the bill's success would be a major positive for Trump, who is struggling with a fractious Republican party, controversy over alleged links to Russia and record low popularity ratings.

"Even though the vote was delayed, the fact that it will take place Friday probably means the Republican plan will pass," said Toshihiko Matsuno, head of investment information at SMBC Friend Securities.

However, McKenna added: "If it fails then the whole house of cards that's been built up since the election can come crashing down as traders and investors wonder what the heck will happen to tax and infrastructure plans."

Watch video 00:20

US Republican congressman talks healthcare

bb/uhe (AFP, dpa, Reuters, AP)

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