Global Stocks, Wall Street Steady as Trump Moves on 'America First' Promise

Global stocks were steady Tuesday, with modest gains in Asia and a mixed opening bell anticipated in Europe, as investors begin to cost the impact of President Donald Trump's increasingly protectionist stance on business activity in the world's largest economy.

Wall Street futures were also largely flat from last night's closing levels, which saw markets slump on the back of steep losses for industrial heavyweights such as Boeing Co. (BA)  and Caterpillar Co. (CAT) linked to planned import tariffs on steel and aluminium and the risk of retaliation by U.S. trading partners.

Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were marked 35 points to the upside in early European hours, while those linked to the broader S&P 500 were seen 1.25 points higher from Monday's closing levels. 

Financial bookmakers expect a muted open for European markets, with Germany's DAX performance index called 0.1% to the downside and Britain's FTSE slated to open little-changed from last night's close.

Markets in Asia, however, managed to claw their way into decent Tuesday gains, with Japan's Nikkei 225 rising 0.66% to end the session at 21,068.10 points and the region-wide MSCI Asia ex-Japan index gaining 0.05% into the close of trading.

Broader market sentiment, however, was hit by President Trump's decision to issue and Executive Order blocking the $117 billion hostile takeover of U.S. based Qualcomm (QCOM) by Singapore-based Broadcom Inc. (AVGO) on the grounds of national security.

"There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that Broadcom Ltd. ... might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States," the White House said in a statement late Monday. 

The move not only scuppers what would have been the biggest tech-sector deal in history, it also suggests that the sector itself may not be immune to unilateral decisions in Washington that could impair its ability to earn overseas revenues. 

The tech-focused Nasdaq closed at a record high 7,588.32 points last night, after gaining 0.32% on the session and extending its year-to-date advance to just under 10%, more than double the 4% increase for the S&P 500 benchmark.

Global oil prices were also active, with prices falling for a second consecutive session as traders reacted to last night's sell-off in industrial stocks and data suggesting that U.S. output will remain near the 10 million barrel per day mark over the near term.

Brent crude contracts for May delivery, the global benchmark, were seen 10 cents lower from last night's close in New York and changing hands at $64.85 per barrel. WTI contracts for April were marked 14 cents lower at $61.22.