Stocks rise as Trump declares America "open for business"

Last Updated Jan 26, 2018 10:45 AM EST

All eyes are on President Donald Trump Friday as investors and global leaders digested the U.S. leader's speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"America is open for business and we are competitive once again," declared Trump, touting strong gains in the stock market since his election and other economic gains.

U.S. stocks rose following Trump's 16-minute speech, and the U.S. dollar mostly fell against other global currencies after several days of mixed messages from his administration on the greenback.

Trump talked about his administration's efforts to dismantle regulation and what he called "years of stagnation."

"We have undertaken the most extensive regulatory reduction reduction every conceived," Trump told the crowd of business leaders and other attendees.

But Trump took a less aggressive stance than some anticipated in touting his "America First" message, saying leaders of other countries should also look after their nation's interest.

"America first does not mean America alone," he added.

The U.S. won't turn a "blind eye" to unfair trade practices, Trump declared, while expressing a willingness to enter agreements that benefit all parties.

Trump's remarks were eagerly anticipated for any clues they might offer on the direction of American trade policy, which has taken a more combative stance in recent weeks. President Trump last week approved tariffs on imported solar equipment and watching machines, raising concerns about U.S. protectionism.

On Thursday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sought to clarify earlier comments on the desirability of a weak dollar that had precipitated a fall in its value against other major currencies. 

In the long run, "I fundamentally believe in the strength of the dollar," Mnuchin said. 

The dollar steadied after that remark and comments by Trump, who said that "ultimately, I want to see a strong dollar."

The decline in the dollar, which has fallen 13 percent since the start of 2017, is basically a monetary easing for the U.S. and will further boost growth, profits and shares, Shane Oliver of AMP Capital said in a commentary.

"However, it's working against Fed tightening, increasing the likelihood that it will get more hawkish and U.S. tariff hikes risk driving a stronger, not weaker, U.S. dollar," Oliver added.