Behrouz Mehri | AFP | Getty Images
A man cycles past an electric quotation board flashing the Nikkei key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) in Tokyo on February 28, 2017.
Futures pointed to a modest open for Asian markets, following U.S. losses, as traders awaited a speech from President Donald Trump to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in which remarks on tax and spending policies are key against a backdrop of heightened Fed rate hike views.
Nikkei futures in Chicago traded at 19,230 and Osaka futures were at 19,130, fractionally higher than the benchmark index’s last close at 19,118.99. Japanese export stocks could expect to receive some boost from a relatively weaker yen that traded at 112.90 to the dollar at 7:04 a.m. HK/SIN, weakening from levels below 112.20.
In Australia, stocks opened lower with the ASX 200 was down 0.36 percent in early trade. Banking stocks were mostly down — ANZ shares fell 0.29 percent, Commonwealth Bank of Australia was down 0.36 percent, Westpac off by 0.53 percent and the National Australia Bank slid 0.44 percent.
Trump is scheduled to speak to a joint U.S. Congress session Tuesday night local time, where the market will be listening closely for clues or details regarding the administration’s plans on tax reform and deregulation.
“Markets are hungry for detail on the new Administration’s economic policy but at the end of the day will probably be prepared to settle for a confident outlining of the general agenda at this stage,” said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.