Asian stocks gain, have hope from US tax plans

Asian markets were generally higher on Monday, with investors reportedly looking towards the economic policies of US President Donald Trump and hoping for tax reform.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 benchmark ended up just 0.1%, but had been much lower earlier in the session. The index was pressured by a moderately stronger US Dollar which in turn strengthened against the Yen after Japanese trade data missed expectations for January.

The greenback also got a modest fillip from Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester. Speaking in Singapore she said the US economy was on a sound footing, and proclaimed herself relaxed about the prospect of gradually higher interest rates as long as it continues to be so. In truth there was little new here, but Mester’s comments left the prospect of higher rates this year very much on the table. That was good enough for Dollar bulls.

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