World stocks hover just off all-time highs and are on course for a fourth straight month of gains, as investors await details from U.S. President Donald Trump on his promises for ''big'' spending programmes. David Pollard reports.
With Easter approaching, it's carnival time in Germany - but even without it, markets have had plenty to celebrate. World shares hovering close to all-time highs as they wait for Donald Trump to detail what he calls his 'big' spending promises. (SOUNDBITE) (German) TRADER, ICF BANK, ATAKAN SAHIN, SAYING: "Markets have already given a lot of advance praise to the U.S. president. The Dow Jones is well above 20,000, the DAX is close to 12,000. Now the U.S. president has to deliver." The time and the place for that: Trump's speech to the US Congress, late Tuesday. But ahead of the schedule, Trump's already talked of an 'historic' ten per cent increase in defence spending. Though critics say in reality it could amount to much less - and only just raise spending above US inflation, currently 2.5 percent. Others worry too his other plans may lack bite. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CCLA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, JAMES BEVAN, SAYING: "There is considerable uncertainty as to what will be in Mr Trump's speech to Congress. There is a broad expectation that in fact he will pass on talking about the detail of tax plans. But he may well pick up on the challenges of Obamacare and also infrastructure spending." Any absence of clarity on key issues a danger for what some see as overpriced stocks .... (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CCLA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, JAMES BEVAN, SAYING: "It was always the market's expectation that the tax cuts might not be rolled out until 2018. That said, if there are no tax cuts and no regulatory reforms, the market will be extremely disappointed." Amid some signs of nervousness ahead of the speech, the Japanese yen gained and gold held close to a three-month high. Some investors seeking traditional safe havens as they keep eyes - and ears - primed.