Asian shares rise ahead of Trump speech
By Joyce C. Abaño
Asian shares were up early Tuesday (Feb. 28, 2017), strengthened by gains on Wall Street as investors await a closely monitored speech by US President Donald Trump.
Investment research firm Morgan Stanley Capital International's broadest index of shares in Asia-Pacific outside Japan was up 0.1 percent early Tuesday while Japan's Nikkei stock index got a tailwind from a weaker yen and rose 0.7 percent.
Stocks in the US edged up Monday, according to a Reuters article, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at a record high for a 12th straight session after Trump said he would talk about tax reform and infrastructure spending in his first major policy address to Congress on Tuesday.
Ayako Sera, market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, wasn't that impressed stating this could be like the case of his inauguration speech in which expectations were high but the president didn't come up with any concrete details.
"The market does not want a repeat of that and wants to hear some actual plans or there will be disappointment," she said.
In a televised interview on Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had said Trump would use the event to preview some elements of his sweeping tax reform plans.
According to a White House budget official, Trump will seek to boost Pentagon spending by $54 billion in his first budget proposal and cut the same amount from non-defense spending, including a large reduction in foreign aid.
The dollar added 0.1 percent to 112.80 yen, pulling away from Monday's nadir of 111.920, which was its lowest since Feb. 9. The euro has slightly edged down on the day to $1.0583.
Crude oil prices were unchanged, as expectations of higher US crude production offset reports of high compliance with OPEC's production cut agreement.
US crude was up slightly on the day at $54.08 a barrel.