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GLOBAL MARKETS-Traders await Powell hearing; Brexit doubts grip pound
November 28, 2017 / 1:08 PM / 19 days ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Traders await Powell hearing; Brexit doubts grip pound

LONDON, Nov 28 (Reuters) - The dollar was stuck near a two-month low on Tuesday as traders waited for the confirmation hearing of new Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, while the pound slipped from a two-month high as Brexit-related doubts began to re-exert their grip.

European shares rose, supported by consumer staples as Anglo-Dutch Unilever said it favoured a single base, and by oil and gas stocks after Royal Dutch Shell cancelled an austerity dividend.

Powell, seen as a continuity choice at the Fed, defended the U.S. central bank’s use of broad crisis-fighting powers and signalled a willingness to move aggressively against a downturn, in remarks prepared ahead of the 1500 GMT hearing.

“The market sees Powell as mister continuity ... but I think there is some risk around the event,” said Saxo Bank’s chief FX strategist John Hardy. “There are lots of hypothetical questions they could ask him ... and if he appears on the hawkish side there could be some volatility.”

The dollar rose 0.2 percent against a basket of six major currencies.

Hopes for U.S. tax cuts also helped the greenback as Donald Trump tweeted again that the plans were “coming along very well”.

The pound dipped 0.2 percent to $1.3291 despite the Bank of England’s saying UK banks could handle a bad Brexit, and the apparent aversion of an Irish political crisis that had threatened to derail a Brexit summit.

The euro slipped 0.1 percent, while top European stocks rose 0.4 percent.

Euro zone government bond yields slid, with 10-year German yields -- the regional benchmark -- at 0.338.

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open, with the S&P 500 seen up 0.1 percent and Dow Jones up 0.2 percent .

CHINA STEADIES

Earlier, China’s blue-chip index climbed off three-week lows hit on Monday and the Shanghai Composite rose 0.3 percent off three-month lows.

Chinese markets had sold off hard on Monday, tumbling between 0.9-1.3 percent, extending last week’s losses.

Investor confidence in China has been dented by rising bond yields and authorities’ efforts to crack down on leverage, with higher borrowing costs threatening to squeeze corporate profits.

Hong Kong stocks found a floor, trading flat, and South Korean stocks rose 0.25 percent after big falls in tech shares on Monday. But Taiwan shares still closed down 0.4 percent at one-week lows.

The MSCI Emerging Market index was up 0.3 percent.

Nickel prices hit their lowest in more than six weeks as the market fretted about weaker demand in top consumer China and rising supplies from Indonesia.

U.S. light crude was down 46 cents at $57.65 amid uncertainty over the outcome of a key OPEC meeting this week. Brent crude oil was down 59 cents a barrel at $63.25. U.S. light crude was 44 cents lower at $57.67.

Spot gold was barely changed. (Additional reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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