European stocks traded firmly lower Thursday as investors pulled back from risk positions in global financial markets following President elect Donald Trump's first press conference since winning the November elections.
The Stoxx 600 Index fell 0.49% by 085:45 GMT, dragging benchmarks around the region lower across the board. Britain's FTSE 100 retreated from the all-time high of 7,328.51 it reached Wednesday to traded 0.26% lower at 7,272.1. Similar percentage declines were seen in Germany and Paris.
Switzerland's SMI index, which is heavily-weighted with healthcare and pharma stocks, was the standout decliner in early European trading, falling 1.15%. That follows significant moves for U.S. biotech stocks, which sold off shortly after Trump suggested he would aggressively negotiate the prices the U.S. paid for drugs.
The President elect also said pharmaceutical companies have been "getting away with murder." The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) slumped more than 3%, while the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) slid 3.5%.
The U.S. dollar was the principal recipient of the market reaction to Trump's press conference, in which he pledged to divest his business interests but provided no details as to how his administration would implement his bold economic plans.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, traded around 0.8% lower in Europe to change hands at a near one-month low of 100.83. That move lifted currencies around the region and helped boost equity benchmarks, with the region-wide MSCI Asia ex-Japan Index rose 0.59% by 07:00 GMT .
Japan's Nikkei 225, however, fell 1.2% to 19,134.7 as the dollar's decline lifted the yen and held down gains for export stocks. South Korea's KOSPI closed around 12 points higher while the S&P/ASX in Australia slipped 0.1% to 5,766.90 points.
That said, the defensive tone in Europe was signalled by a quick fall in government bond yields at the start of trading, with benchmark 10-year German bund yields falling 3 basis points to 0.22%. Ten year U.S. Treasury yields were also marked lower, trading 6 basis points lower at 2.31%.
Global oil headed higher Thursday as a weaker dollar offset solid U.S. stockpile data to boost prices. WTI futures for March delivery traded at $52.33 per barrel, around 7 cents higher than Wednesday's New York close. Brent contracts for the same month were marked 10 cents higher at $55.35.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a larger-than-expected build in U.S. crude inventories, which jumped up by 4.1 million barrels for the week ending Jan. 6. The build pushed stockpiles up to 483.1 million barrels, meaning domestic inventories are at the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Analysts had been anticipating a build of approximately 1.2 million barrels.
Like Trump's first press conference since securing victory, Wall Street's trading on Wednesday was unpredictable. Stocks scored slight to modest gains after flitting between losses and gains in the hours after Trump took the stage.
The S&P 500 gained 0.28%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.50%. The Nasdaq was up 0.21%, securing a new record close of 5,563. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX.X) spiked to more than 12 on Wednesday.
Early indications from U.S. futures prices have the Dow falling around 55 points at the open, with the S&P 500 slipping 7.75 points and the Nasdaq giving back around 13.3 points.