Sun03262017

LAST_UPDATESun, 26 Mar 2017 3pm

Stocks Edge Down, Dollar Steady Ahead Of Trump News Conference

World stocks edged down from recent highs and the dollar steadied ahead of a news conference by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in which he is expected to give more details about his plans for the U.S. economy.

While Trump's election campaign calls for tax cuts and more infrastructure spending have boosted U.S. shares and the dollar, his protectionist statements and a flurry of off-the-cuff Tweets have kept many investors from adding to risky positions.

European shares fell 0.3 percent while the UK's FTSE 100 was on track to snap an 11-day winning streak, with both indexes hurt by weakness in industrials. Stock futures on Wall Street eased 0.1 percent as the post-U.S. election rally shows signs of running out of steam.

Trump has vowed to label China a currency manipulator on his first day in office on Jan. 20 and has threatened to slap huge tariffs on imports from China.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and top members of Trump's transition team are discussing a controversial plan to tax imports.

Economists have warned that protectionist measures could stifle international trade and hurt global growth.

That brings Trump's press conference, scheduled for 11:00 EST (1600 GMT), into sharp focus.

"From a currency perspective, markets will aim to get a clearer picture on trade, fiscal stimulus and the new administration’s relationship to the Fed," Morgan Stanley strategists wrote in a note to clients.

The dollar inched higher against the yen on Wednesday but was little changed against the basket of currencies used to measure its broader strength.

The dollar has gained broadly since Trump's election in November as investors bet he would boost public spending and spur repatriation of overseas funds by U.S. companies as well as higher inflation and interest rates.

Sterling meanwhile edged towards a 10-week low against the dollar on Wednesday, kept under pressure by fears that Britain will undergo a "hard" exit from the EU in which access to the single market will play second fiddle to immigration controls.

The Turkish lira fell to new lows despite efforts by the country's central bank to support it with pressures piling on the economy.

An auction of German debt was expected to go down well with investors looking for safe havens. Portuguese yields held near 11-month highs as the country prepared for its toughest bond sale in years.

In commodity markets, oil rose, lifted by reports of Saudi supply cuts to Asia, but gains were capped by a lack of detail about the reductions and because of signs of rising supplies from other producers.

Prices for Brent futures LCOc1, the international benchmark for oil prices, were trading at $53.94 per barrel at 0800 GMT, up 30 cents from their previous close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $51.11 a barrel, up 29 cents.

Reuters