Global stocks turned higher on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump delivered a relatively upbeat speech to the U.S. Congress. Investors were watching for signals on what’s ahead in trade, regulations and tax policies, though they got few specifics.
KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 gained 1.6 percent to 4,936 and Germany’s DAX jumped 1.4 percent 11,998. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 1.1 percent to 7,340. Wall Street looked set for gains, with Dow futures up 0.4 percent and S&P 500 futures 0.5 percent higher.
TRUMP SPEECH: In his speech, Trump struck a less confrontational tone than usual and steered away from dramatically negative descriptions of the state of the U.S. economy. He also reiterated his pledges to reform taxes, slash red tape and ramp up spending on defense and infrastructure projects. The promises have helped send U.S. stock benchmarks to records, but Trump offered little by way of detail.
THE QUOTE: “Trump’s speech … offered only a little additional clarity on the tax reforms and additional spending the White House will be seeking,” said Paul Ashworth, from Capital Economics. He noted Trump floated the idea of as much as $1 trillion in infrastructure investment, though that will be hard to get approved by Congress. And tax reform could take a year or longer to implement.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 1.4 percent to finish at 19,393.54. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1 percent at 5,704.80. But Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.2 percent to 23,776.49, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.2 percent to 3,246.93. South Korea’s markets were closed for a holiday.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 13 cents to $54.14 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It slipped 4 cents Tuesday. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, gained 19 cents to $56.70 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 113.83 yen from Tuesday’s 112.57 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0527 from $1.0586.