Asian Stocks Inch Up, Focus Squarely on Trump Speech
- Asia Pacific markets are still waiting to hear from US President Donald Trump
- They edged up on Tuesday, but investors are cautious before a key policy speech
- The Dollar was underpinned by Federal Reserve commentary
Asian shares edged up in general on Tuesday, remaining on track to close out February in the green. Investors are still awaiting a key policy speech from US President Donald Trump later in the global day.
Asian investors have fluctuated between optimism and doubt about Trump’s policy speech. The market really wants concrete details on issues such as infrastructure spending and tax policy and there must be room for disappointment if the President does not deliver.
Australia’s ASX 200 was up 0.4% as financial shares gained. The index got a lift from official data showing the smallest current account deficit for 2016 in the fourth quarter. These also bolstered hoped for Wednesday’s Gross Domestic Product numbers for the same period.
The Nikkei rose by 0.1% at the close. Japanese economic news was mixed. Industrial production missed forecasts bur retail sales topped expectations.
The US Dollar slipped a little although some ‘hawkish’ Monday interest rate commentary from Dallas Federal Reserve President Robert Kaplan kept it underpinned. He said that the Fed may need to raise interest rates in the near future to avoid falling behind the curve in the fight against inflation.
Crude oil prices were steady, for the now-usual reason that hopes for global production cuts are running up against expectations of higher US production. Spot gold prices inched up but remained short of their recent, 3.5- month peak.
The remainder of Tuesday’s world market session offers a plethora of US numbers, which will include fourth-quarter GDP, the goods trade balance, the Case/Shiller new home prices index and consumer confidence. Bank of England chief operating officer Charlotte Hogg will attend an appointment hearing prior to her appointment as Deputy Governor on March 1.
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--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research
Contact and follow David on Twitter: @DavidCottleFX
DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.