Asian markets mostly lower, watching Trump speech closely

In this Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, photo, an American flag hangs on the front of the New York Stock Exchange. Global stock markets traded in fairly narrow ranges Tuesday, Feb. 28, as investors awaited a speech by President Donald Trump to both houses of Congress that could have a major bearing on the outlook for all types of financial assets in the near-term. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

TOKYO — Asian markets were mostly higher Wednesday as attention turned to President Donald Trump's speech to Congress for clues on what might be ahead for trade, regulations and taxes.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.5 percent in morning trading to 19,222.56. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.6 percent at 5,676.90. But Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.4 percent to 23,824.17, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.5 percent to 3,257.53. South Korea's markets were closed for a holiday. Australia's S&P ASX/200 fell 0.5 percent to 5,685.00.

TRUMP SPEECH: Investors were listening closely to Trump's speech to Congress, hoping for concrete policies to match his promises for an economic revival. Trump's plans for tax reform, deregulation and ramped up spending on defense and infrastructure projects have mostly sent world share benchmarks higher.

THE QUOTE: "President Trump's address will undoubtedly create short term volatility this morning in most markets. Markets will be hanging on every word, looking for some tremendously wonderful concrete details of his administration's fiscal plans," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

WALL STREET: The Dow fell 25.20 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,812.24. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slid 6.11 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,363.64. The Nasdaq composite index lost 36.46 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,825.44.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 12 cents to $54.13 a barrel in New York. It slipped 4 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $54.01 Tuesday. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, added 13 cents to $56.64 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 113.19 yen from Tuesday's 112.57 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0566 from $1.0586.

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AP Business Writer Alex Veiga contributed to this report.

Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/yuri-kageyama

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