Asian markets mostly higher, watching Trump speech closely

By , on March 1, 2017


Asian markets were mostly higher Wednesday as attention turned to President Donald Trump's speech to Congress for clues on what might be ahead for trade, regulations and taxes.   (Photo by Allan Ajifo [CC BY 2.0)
Asian markets were mostly higher Wednesday as attention turned to President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress for clues on what might be ahead for trade, regulations and taxes.
(Photo by Allan Ajifo [CC BY 2.0)
TOKYO—Asian markets were mostly higher Wednesday as attention turned to President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress for clues on what might be ahead for trade, regulations and taxes.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 1.3 per cent to 19,361.75. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.4 per cent at 5,690.40. But Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.2 per cent to 23,788.45, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.4 per cent to 3,254.17. South Korea’s markets were closed for a holiday.

TRUMP SPEECH: Investors were listening closely to Trump’s speech to Congress, hoping for concrete policies to match his promises for an economic revival. Trump’s plans for tax reform, deregulation and ramped up spending on defence and infrastructure projects have mostly sent world share benchmarks higher.

THE QUOTE: “President Trump’s address will undoubtedly create short-term volatility this morning in most markets. Markets will be hanging on every word, looking for some tremendously wonderful concrete details of his administration’s fiscal plans,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

WALL STREET: The Dow fell 25.20 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 20,812.24. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 6.11 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,363.64. The Nasdaq composite index lost 36.46 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 5,825.44.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 8 cents to $54.09 a barrel in New York. It slipped 4 cents, or 0.1 per cent, to $54.01 Tuesday. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, added 10 cents to $56.61 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 113.41 yen from Tuesday’s 112.57 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0556 from $1.0586.