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US stock futures slide as Comey firing raises concern about the Trump agenda

  • Stocks have rallied sharply since Trump's election in November as hopes for more deregulation, corporate tax reform and infrastructure spending lifted investor optimism.
  • But Comey's firing raises more skepticism about when said policies will be implemented, as investors fear this may slow down the agenda.
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Andrew Burton | Getty Images
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

U.S. equity futures pointed to a lower open on Wednesday as President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey raised concerns that the implementation of pro-growth policies by the administration may hit political resistance in Congress.

Dow and S&P futures fell 51 points and 3 points, respectively, while Nasdaq futures traded just 1 point lower. Losses were muted as traders waited to see more reactions from members of Congress.

"It's not surprising that we're seeing safe havens rising here," said Matt Weller, senior market analyst at Faraday Research.

Gold futures for June delivery rose 0.7 percent to $1,224.80 per ounce in early trade. U.S. Treasury prices also advanced, pushing yields lower. The CBOE volatility index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, popped back above 10 Wednesday morning. The Mexican peso, often used as a barometer for the Trump agenda, rose 0.49 percent against the dollar to trade at 19.072.

"I think there's a chance we may be underreacting, but we still need to see how this unfolds," Weller said.

Stocks have rallied sharply since Trump's election in November as hopes for more deregulation, corporate tax reform and infrastructure spending lifted investor optimism.

Bank stocks have been some of the best performers since the November election and will be in focus Wedneday. The SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE) and the Regional Banking ETF (KRE) both are up more than 20 percent since the election.

In a letter from Trump to Comey, the president said: "It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission."

The White House said its search for Comey's successor begins immediately. Andrew McCabe, who has been the FBI's deputy director, is now acting director, a Justice Department official told NBC.

—CNBC's Christine Wang contributed to this report.