Tokyo, Japan (BBN) – Asian markets were mostly higher in early trade on Tuesday, tracking US gains, as investors await a key speech from President Donald Trump.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan was up 0.76 per cent, while the Topix index added 0.83 per cent, reports CNBC.
Most exporters advanced on the back of a relatively weaker yen , which traded at 112.70 to the dollar at 8:22am HK/SIN, retreating from levels below 112.20 in the previous session.
Toyota shares were up 1.17 per cent, Nissan up 1.13 per cent and Honda advanced 1.26 per cent, while Sony added 1.16 per cent.
Takata shares climbed 0.36 per cent, after the troubled air bag maker formally pleaded guilty to fraud Monday and agreed to pay a $1 billion penalty for concealing a deadly defect in millions of its air bags.
Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi traded near flat at 2,086.41.
Australia’s ASX 200 was up 0.44 per cent in morning trade, with the energy sector gaining 1.77 per cent as oil steadied Monday.
US crude gained 0.1 per cent to $54.05 a barrel, while global benchmark Brent slipped 0.1 per cent to $55.93 in the overnight session.
Energy names in Australia traded higher — Santos shares were up 2 per cent, Oil Search gained 0.78 per cent and Woodside Petroleum was up 0.41 per cent.
Trump is set to speak at a joint session of the US Congress on Tuesday, where investors hope for more details on the administration’s plans for tax reform and deregulation.
“It’s frankly very difficult to know what markets expect from the joint session address, but expectations of an address with some reassuring and guiding details of the fiscal stance, from tax policies, and infrastructure might have been an ambitious hope,” said David de Garis, a director at the National Australia Bank.
Some market commentators said Trump preempted his speech to Congress by announcing part of his plans.
White House budget officials told reporters Monday that Trump’s first budget will call for a $54 billion increase in defense spending and a corresponding cut in what his administration deems lower priority programs.
“Investors were initially disappointed by the delay of the tax plan but looked past that by the end of the day,” said Kathy Lien, managing director of foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management. She added the dollar continued to struggle and traded lower or held steady against most of the major currencies.
The dollar index traded fractionally higher at 101.18 at 8:24 a.m. HK/SIN on Tuesday.
The Australian dollar was at $0.7676, while the euro fetched $1.0582 and the British pound traded at $1.2433.
On the data front, India is set to release its October-December quarter GDP figures later in the day, which could see the country lose its title as the world’s fastest expanding major economy.
Economists expect a sizable drop in growth for the quarter due to a demonetization-led cash crunch that hit the cash-heavy economy.