Most Asian stock market indices were trading higher on Wednesday (1 March), with the Shanghai Composite up 0.48% at 3,257.24 as of 5.25am GMT. This came as investors digested Donald Trump's speech on Tuesday.

In his first major policy address to the Congress, the US President promised to overhaul the immigration system, improve jobs and wages for American citizens. He further said he would introduce huge tax relief to the middle class apart from cutting taxes for companies. While Republicans praised Trump's bold and optimistic message, Democrats criticised the same.

A few analysts too were not optimistic with the speech. This was amid lack of details as to how Trump would achieve his promises. "Investors had little to grasp, and market reaction during the speech was choppy and directionless. The speech was short on details and did not even prioritize the president's goals," Paul Christopher, Scott Wren and Sameer Samana, market strategists at Wells Fargo Investment Institute were quoted as saying by Reuters.

Meanwhile, the bullish trend in Asia also follows positive manufacturing survey data reported in both China and Japan. While China Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) came in at 51.6 in February, Japan's PMI stood at 53.3. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

This data improved investor's sentiment over export-reliant economies. It comes at a time when most of such economies are grasped by uncertainty amid Trump's protectionist stance.

Indices in the region were trading as follows at 5.43am GMT:

Hong KongHang Seng Index23,762.10Up0.09%
JapanNikkei 22519,401.37Up1.48%
South KoreaKOSPIHoliday
AustraliaS&P/ASX 2005,704.80Down0.13%

On 28 Feb the FTSE 100 closed 0.14% higher at 7,263.44 while the S&P 500 index closed 0.26% lower at 2,363.64.

Among commodities, oil prices continued to rise as OPEC cuts offset higher US crude inventories. As of 12.33am EST, WTI Crude Oil was up 0.09% at $54.06 (£43.69) a barrel, while Brent Crude was trading 0.19% higher at $56.62 a barrel.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump promised to overhaul the immigration system, improve jobs and wages for American citizens Reuters