LONDON: World stock markets were downbeat Tuesday and the dollar came under fresh selling pressure as trading floors grew cautious before Donald Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress.
Around the half-way stage, Europe’s main stock markets were mostly flat compared with the Monday’s closing levels, while the dollar was lower against major rivals the euro, pound and yen.
Tuesday is seeing “investors opting to sit on their hands ahead of Trump’s speech to Congress”, said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG trading group.
The new US president hinted he would make a “big” announcement on infrastructure policy, raising hopes he will deliver on a key campaign promise.
Traders will also be looking for details of tax reform — another major pledge — which this month he said would be “phenomenal”.
Global markets and the dollar have largely surged since Trump’s election win in November on expectations his planned measures will fire the US economy and fuel inflation, prompting the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.
But with the Dow on Monday hitting a record high for a 12th successive day, analysts say there is a fear the advance may have gone too far and investors are beginning to row back, with the dollar also feeling the pinch.
“President Trump’s big address naturally has attracted a lot of anticipation in markets,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader.
“There is a strong chance that it could be the catalyst for the next leg higher for the US dollar, bonds and stocks. But there is also room for disappointment.”
The dollar got a shot in the arm Monday when the head of the Dallas Fed, Robert Kaplan, said he thought borrowing costs should be raised “sooner rather than later”.
His comments fuelled speculation the Fed could hike as soon as next month. They come days before the central bank’s head, Janet Yellen, and her deputy Stanley Fischer are due to talk.
– Key figures around 1115 GMT –
London – FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,251.42 points
Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.2 percent at 11,804.71
Paris – CAC 40: FLAT at 4,843.80
EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 3,308.53
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 19,118.99 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.8 percent at 23,740.73 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.4 percent at 3,241.73 (close)
New York – Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 20,843.19 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0596 from $1.0587
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2441 from $1.2440
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 112.29 yen from 112.70 yen
Oil – Brent North Sea: DOWN 12 cents at $55.81 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN nine cents at $53.96