Stocks fluctuated, the dollar weakened slightly and buying picked up in Treasurys as President-elect Donald Trump slammed the drug industry in comments to the press and vowed health-care costs would be cheaper in America.
But Trump did not discuss infrastructure spending or tax cuts that the markets had been hoping to get more details on from his first news briefing since the election. He did say, however — not for the first time — that companies that move out of the United States and then sell goods back into America would be taxed at the border.
"Pharma has a lot of lobbyists, a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power, and there's very little bidding on drugs. We're the largest buyer of drugs in the world yet we don't bid properly," he said. "We're going to start bidding, we're going to save billions of dollars over a period of time and we're going to do that with a lot of other industries."
Trump began speaking just around 11:19 a.m. ET Wednesday morning, and the already rising, moved higher to a 100-point gain. But then stocks turned lower as he discussed the drug sector, but recovered ground as he continued.
"The dollar weakened against the euro. I think it's been because they've been waiting for the stimulus talk and there hasn't been anything," said Marc Chandler, head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman. The Mexican peso also continued to weaken against the dollar, and it is now down about 20 percent since the election.
Mexico has been a particular target of Trump, who has asked automakers to reverse decisions to put production there and has said the country would pay for a wall along its border.
The was lower at midday and the gave up its early gains, pulled down by declines in biotech. The iShares Nasdaq Biotech Index ETF was down 3.4 percent.
The yield moved slightly and was at 2.37 percent.
"The comments about the pharma business weighed down risk assets," said Ian Lyngen, head of U.S. rate strategy at BMO. "The Treasury market is modestly higher as a result of the press conference. It's hard to point to any particular set of comments that triggered the move other than just the general tone related to some of the leaks and implied international relations tensions."
Trump said the pharma is "getting away with murder" and that there should be bidding on drugs.
"We have to get our drug industry coming back. Our drug industry has been disastrous. They're leaving left and right. They supply our drugs but they don't make them here, to a large extent. And the other thing we have to do is create new bidding procedures for the drug industry because they're getting away with murder," said Trump.
The president-elect praised automakers Ford and Fiat Chrysler for decisions to increase U.S. production. Shares of Lockheed Martin fell after he repeated earlier criticism of the cost of the F-35 jet fighter program.
He also criticized the U.S. intelligence agencies and two media outlets that reported an unsubstantiated story that Russia was in possession of material that could be used to compromise him. Other media outlets avoided the story.
Trump also said he believed Russia was responsible for the hacks on the Democratic National Committee, and that he believes China also has been hacking the U.S. He said he would have technology companies help deal with cyberattacks.