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Global Markets Stabilize -- 2nd Update

23 Mar 2017 8:30 am
By Kenan Machado and Mike Bird 

Global markets were roughly stable Thursday, though investors were on edge ahead of a U.S. vote on a health-care bill Thursday that could be a barometer for future Trump administration policies.

European stocks were broadly flat shortly after markets opened, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index down 0.01%.

Asia-Pacific markets remained wary after U.S. stocks rebounded Wednesday and oil and the dollar found near-term support.

Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.23% higher and Korea's KOSPI closed up 0.2%. The rebound in commodities allowed Australian stocks to be a regional outperformer as the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.41%. Miner BHP Billiton rose 1.13%, while Oil Search climbed 2.2%.

Still, the pullback earlier this week added to concerns about stock valuations in the wake of various indexes hitting multiyear and record highs. Risks of profit-taking, similar to what occurred earlier this week, are heightened, analysts warned.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we get a consolidation period in the near-term," said Hue Lu, a senior investment specialist covering Asia Pacific and Greater China equities at BNP Investment Partners.

Equities had sold off earlier this week in reaction to President Donald Trump's struggles to rally Republican lawmakers around a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. The potential for Mr. Trump to enact pro-growth policies had boosted stocks since his election in November.

In foreign exchange markets, the dollar stabilized after falling to a seven-week low against a basket of currencies on Wednesday. The WSJ dollar index gained 0.1%.

Shortly after European markets opened, the euro and pound were down 0.07% and 0.04% respectively against the dollar, at $1.078 and $1.248. The dollar also rose slightly against the yen, up 0.04% to Yen111.2.

Oil prices also picked up, with WTI crude rising 0.4% to $48.23 per barrel.

Kosaku Narioka contributed to this article.

Write to Kenan Machado at kenan.machado@wsj.com and Mike Bird at Mike.Bird@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 23, 2017 04:30 ET (08:30 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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