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Dow Falls 100 Points Ahead of Contentious Healthcare Vote

The Dow Jones industrial average traded 100 points lower on Friday amid growing concerns that the GOP may not be able to push through the American Health Care Act.

"There are many doubts about whether or not it will pass in the House," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets. "We all know that Trump has pledged to repeal and replace Obamacare, and if his efforts fail and the bill doesn't get approved, we could have a major problem."

'The President Understands This Is It' 0:55

Stock Pullback

House Speaker Paul Ryan went to the White House to speak with President Donald Trump about the bill Friday afternoon, around the time when stocks pulled back.

Treasurys rose, as the benchmark 10-year note yield dipped below 2.4 percent.

"No vote means buy bonds," said Ian Lyngen, head of U.S. rate strategy at BMO Capital. "If we price out the positive momentum the bill appeared to have and we question what this means for other reforms, and trump's overall level of political capital that would be constructive for the Treasury market."

“From an economic perspective, there really isn't that much juice here," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network. "The bigger issue here is political. Right now, this is a 'put up or shut up' moment for Republicans because they have been talking about this for years."

Crucial for Trump

The House vote is crucial for the Trump agenda. Trump has said the repeal and replacement of Obamacare must happen before action can be taken on his other plans, including a major tax reduction.

Expectations for such policies had been a boon for the stock market's postelection rally. Republicans need 215 votes to pass the health-care proposal because one Democrat is expected to be absent.

Stocks suffered their worst day of the year earlier this week, in part, because of the concerns surrounding the health-care vote. The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 indexes on Tuesday recorded their first 1 percent declines since Oct. 11.

Failure Would Be a Bad Sign

"The mounting anticipation ahead of the delayed health-care vote later today has created an unnatural calm across the financial markets with investors adopting a cautious approach," said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM.

"While Trump has threatened that without a vote to the healthcare bill he will move on to other agendas, markets may interpret a potential failure today as something that could create some headwinds for the pending tax reforms and infrastructure spending," he said.