Global stocks were mixed Thursday, as investors awaited a vote in the U.S. Congress on health care legislation that is seen as a bellwether for President Donald Trump’s ability to deliver on campaign promises of tax and regulatory reforms.
KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX was up 0.4 percent at 11,949 and the CAC 40 in France rose 0.2 percent to 5,003. Britain’s FTSE 100 was flat at 7,325. U.S. markets looked set for a tepid start with Dow futures up less than 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent.
HEALTHCARE VOTE: Republican leaders in Congress were looking to Trump to help win over a crucial bloc of conservatives in supporting the American Health Care Act before a House of Representatives vote on Thursday. Earlier in the week, shares fell on doubts over the outlook for Trump’s agenda of tax cuts and higher infrastructure spending.
ANALYST’S VIEWPOINT: “The implications of the health care reform bill vote may be more pronounced when the results arrive and I would not be surprised to find the market using this vote as a proxy in their expectations for future policies to be passed,” Jingyi Pan of IG said in a commentary.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.2 percent to 19,085.31. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was flat at 24,327.70 and South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.2 percent to 2,172.72. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.1 percent to 3,248.55 and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 was up 0.4 percent to 5,708.00. Shares were higher in Southeast Asia and Taiwan.
ENERGY: U.S. crude oil gained 30 cents to $48.34 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 20 cents the day before. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 32 cents to $50.96 a barrel. It fell 32 cents on Wednesday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 111.05 yen from 111.17 yen. The euro fell to $1.0788 from $1.0797.