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|06 February, 2019

Wednesday outlook: Global markets await Trump's speech, Egyptian shares rally on Tuesday

Asian shares were mainly flat on Tuesday, Wall Street rose overnight. EGX 30 added 2.6 percent on Tuesday, boosted by a 3.9 percent in CIB's shares. More commentary on oil prices, currencies and precious metals

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks after competing measures to end the partial U.S. government shutdown fell short in the Senate, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 24, 2019.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks after competing measures to end the partial U.S. government shutdown fell short in the Senate, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 24, 2019.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
  • Asian shares mainly flat; all eyes on Trump speech
  • Egypt’s blue chip index EGX30 outperformed the region
  • Oil prices edge up with limited gains
  • Dollar, gold steady

Global markets

Asian shares traded cautiously early on Wednesday ahead of United States President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.

Trump’s speech starts at 0200 GMT and investors will be looking at any hints of progress on tariffs and on the outlook for Chinese-U.S. trade.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat with China and several other markets in the region still closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

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“Trump is likely to tout progress on the trade front, though many key structural issues are likely still outstanding,” Richard Franulovich, Westpac’s head of FX strategy, told Reuters.

“An infrastructure plan is likely to be resuscitated again. A Democrat led-Congress will likely be more sympathetic, which would be a positive for risk appetite.”

Onvernight on Wall Street, the Dow ended Tuesday up 0.68 percent, while the S&P 500 gained 0.47 percent and the Nasdaq 0.74 percent.

Middle East markets

Egypt’s blue-chip index EGX30 rose 2.6 percent on Tuesday with its biggest lender Commercial International Bank jumping 3.9 percent. The bank reported a fourth-quarter (Q4) net profit after interest of 2.56 billion Egyptian pounds ($146 million) compared to 1.87 billion pounds a year ago.

Global Telecom Holding climbed 3.3 percent to its highest since July after major shareholder VEON Ltd said that it offered to buy out the firm.

Saudi Arabia's index gained 1.2 percent with National Commercial Bank adding 3.9 percent and Al Rajhi Bank gaining 1.4 percent.

The Abu Dhabi index rose 0.2 percent, with Emirates Telecommunications gaining 0.6 percent and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank increasing 1.6 percent. ADIB reported a 23 percent increase in its fourth-quarter net profit for the year 2018.

In Dubai, the index added 0.5 percent with Emirates NBD, its largest bank, gaining 2.1 percent.

Qatar's index edged down 0.1 percent with Commercial Bank declining 0.8 percent.

Kuwait’s premier market index gained 0.5 percent, while Oman’s index edged up 0.1 percent and Bahrain’s index added 0.4 percent.

Oil prices

Oil prices edged higher early on Wednesday but gains were limited by concerns over the global economy.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $53.74 per barrel at 0153 GMT, up 8 cents from their last settlement. They closed down 1.7 percent on Tuesday.

International Brent crude oil futures were at $62.05 per barrel, up 7 cents, after closing down 0.8 percent in the previous session.

“Anything out of the State of the Union that hints at the U.S.-China deal not working out, or more anti-trade rhetoric would be a negative for energy prices as demand would be lower if global growth keeps being downgraded,” Alfonso Esparza senior market analyst at OANDA, told Reuters.

Currencies

The dollar was mainly steady before Trump’s speech.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, hovered near an 11-day high of 96.12 reached overnight.

Precious metals

Gold prices held firm early on Wednesday.

Spot gold was steady at $1,315 per ounce at 0049 GMT. Prices rose about 0.3 percent in the previous session, after falling to their lowest level since Jan. 29 at $1,308.20 on Monday.

U.S. gold futures were also steady at $1,319.10 an ounce.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)

(gerard.aoun@refinitiv.com)


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