February 28, 2017 / 10:24 AM / 7 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Trump's "big" spending hopes nudge stocks higher

* Graphic: FX rates in 2017 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

* Europe stocks up, world shares set for 4th month of gains

* Trump flags big infrastructure spend before Tuesday speech

* Oil futures firm, gold retreats from 3-1/2-month high

By Marc Jones

LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - World stocks hovered just off all-time highs and were on course for a fourth straight month of gains on Tuesday, as investors awaited a speech by U.S. President Donald Trump for signals on infrastructure spending and tax cuts.

Global share markets have risen more than 10 percent since Trump won power in November and investors are hoping a speech to U.S. Congress later will detail his “big” spending promises.

Asian markets were subdued overnight but some upbeat company earnings helped European stocks add 0.1 percent as the region looked to pull out of a three-day lull and extend a 2.5-percent gain this month.

In the currency markets, the dollar, which has not taken to the Trump trade quite so enthusiastically, was treading water against most of its major peers, with the only notable move a dip against the yen to 112.41.

Gold was also steady, having hit a 3-1/2 month high on Monday and 10-year U.S. Treasury yields hovered at about 2.36 pct, some 10 basis points down on where they started the year.

That suggests that bond investors at least are fully convinced about a substantial pick-up in U.S. growth and higher interest rates.

“While markets no doubt appear to like what they are hearing, the president now needs to deliver, he’s talked the talk and he now needs to walk the walk,” CMC markets chief strategist Michael Hewson said.

Trump met U.S. state governors at the White House on Monday and said he sees “big” infrastructure spending and that he is seeking a “historic” increase in military spending of more than 9 percent.

That means some $54 billion of military spending is now on the table, though that appears to be funded by cuts elsewhere in government.

Led by engineering, construction and defence firms, Wall St stocks eked out another all-time high, with the Dow Jones recording its 12th straight record, a winning streak not seen since 1987. Futures pointed to it struggling to keep the run going later.

SCHATZ

In Europe, the economic signals were a largely encouraging although not universally so.

Sweden’s crown rose as the economy showed solid 2.3 percent year-on-year growth, inflation figures were stronger across central Europe, though British consumer morale suffered its latest knock which sent the pound down.

Support programmes from the world’s big central banks are also still having an impact.

Germany, which is benefitting from ECB stimulus, was expected to sell two-year Schatz bonds at almost minus 1 percent later, another record low that means investors are effectively paying for the privilege of holding German government debt.

The euro barely budged on the day at $1.0588 with February set to be its fourth monthly fall in the last five.

France’s bond yields continued to fall as jitters about its upcoming election stabilised.

In commodity markets, oil edged higher to just over $56 a barrel, underpinned by high compliance with OPEC’s agreed production cuts.

The organisation has so far surprised the market with its discipline which could increase further in coming months as the biggest laggards - the United Arab Emirates and Iraq - pledge to catch up quickly with their targets.

“With the prospect of OPEC extending the current cuts even longer, we would expect to see prices continue to push higher from here,” ANZ analysts said in a note.

Industrial metals such as copper and nickel were both a touch lower. The latter has surged almost 17 percent this month while copper is up almost 30 percent since late October.

A strike at the Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world’s largest, appeared far from ending as the conflict neared its third week, with the union denying a news report that it had returned to talks with mine owner BHP Billiton.

For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock markets see reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=http://emea1.apps.cp.extranet.thomsonreuters.biz/cms/?pageId=livemarkets (Additional reporting by Lisa Twaronite in Tokyo; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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