HONG KONG (AP) — World stocks eked out modest gains and the dollar weakened against the yen on Tuesday as investors awaited a speech by President Donald Trump to the U.S. Congress.
KEEPING SCORE: European shares posted modest gains in early trading. Britain's FTSE 100 rose less than 0.1 percent to 7,256.23 and France's CAC 40 climbed 0.2 percent to 4,854.14. Germany's DAX added 0.1 percent to 11,833.89. U.S. stocks were poised for a mixed open a day after closing at record highs, with Dow futures practically unchanged at 20,816.00 and broader S&P 500 futures slipping less than 0.1 percent to 2,367.20.
BIG SPEECH: Investors are hoping Trump's first speech to a joint session of Congress, scheduled for Tuesday evening — or Wednesday morning in Asia will bring more clarity on promised tax cuts, infrastructure spending and other business friendly policies. On Monday the president told a group of governors, "We're going to start spending on infrastructure big." He also said his budget would propose increasing defense spending by $54 billion while cutting domestic programs and foreign aid by the same amount.
INVESTOR INSIGHT: "Traders prefer to sit on the sidelines and refrain from taking any big bets ahead of the U.S. President's congressional address later today in what seems to be the key market driver for the week," said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM. "Expectations are very high on delivering some concrete plans this time and if President Trump fails to do so, many investors will be ready to push the sell button."
CHINA CONGRESS: China's national legislature and a parallel advisory body will begin meetings this week that will help signal the direction for the region's largest economy. Financial stability and sustainable growth are on the agenda.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index trimmed strong earlier gains to finish less than 0.1 percent higher at 19,118.99 and South Korea's Kospi rose 0.3 percent to 2,091.64. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.8 percent to 23,740.73 while the Shanghai Composite index in mainland China climbed 0.4 percent to 3,241.73. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.2 percent to 5,712.20.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 112.31 yen from Monday's 112.79 yen. The euro rose to $1.0592 from $1.0587.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 2 cents to $54.04 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 6 cents to close at $54.05 a barrel on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 4 cents to $56.46 in London.