Stocks Reach Record Highs as U.S. Tax Vote Looms: Markets WrapBy and
U.S. lawmakers may vote on tax cuts midweek; dollar, oil fall
Sterling rises on May’s Brexit speech; Nasdaq hits record high
Stocks kicked off the penultimate week of the year on a positive note after Republicans reached an agreement on the shape of U.S. tax cuts. The dollar dropped and Treasuries headed lower.
The S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq Composite Index hit new highs Monday as investors focused on the progress of the proposed tax legislation. Midweek votes in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are planned on a measure that will reduce corporate and individual tax rates. Lawmakers are aiming for the bill to land on President Donald Trump’s desk for a signature before Christmas.
“I think that there’s still a fair amount of skepticism in markets until it actually happens,” said Luke Tilley, chief economist at money manager Wilmington Trust Corp. in Delaware. “But with passage, we think that there’s still room to run. It’s challenging to say what is priced into the markets, but we do think it will be to the upside.”
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed the most in about five months as real estate, automakers and technology stocks led gains. Sterling advanced as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May addressed Parliament about her plans for Brexit. The euro strengthened after two days of declines.
Copper and gold rose, while oil declined. Bitcoin traded above $18,000 after futures debuted on the CME Group Inc.’s venue, the world’s biggest exchange, giving the cryptocurrency further cachet and access to mainstream investors.
Earlier, equity benchmarks in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney advanced. Indian shares rebounded as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party looked set to return to power in his home state, an election that’s considered a bellwether before the national vote in early 2019. South Africa’s rand extended gains as Cyril Ramaphosa was elected the next leader of the ruling African National Congress party.
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Among the key events investors will be watching this week:
- Xi Jinping kicks off China’s Central Economic Work Conference. Investor focus will be on whether officials will cut the growth target from this year’s “6.5% or higher.”
- U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May meets her cabinet Tuesday to begin work on a trade wish list. Europe will unveil its stance Wednesday.
- The disruption to the Forties oil pipeline is key for commodities traders this week. Details about the extent of the damage and a restart date could come at any time.
- The U.S. and U.K. publish updated estimates of third-quarter GDP; U.S. releases PCE data.
- German December Ifo survey Tuesday.
- Catalonia’s secessionists are at risk of becoming a minority in the Spanish region’s parliament as the main pro-unity party is set to add seats in Thursday’s election.
- The Bank of Japan meets to set monetary policy. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Taiwan and Thailand also set interest rates this week.
And these are the main moves in markets:
- The S&P 500 Index gained 0.5 percent at 4:02 p.m. New York time.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 1.2 percent to the highest in almost six weeks.
- The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index gained 0.6 percent.
- Germany’s DAX Index rose 1.6 percent.
- The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.8 percent to its highest close on record.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index declined 0.2 percent.
- The euro rose 0.3 percent to $1.1782.
- The British pound climbed 0.5 percent to $1.3383.
- The Japanese yen increased less than 0.05 percent to 112.56 per dollar.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries climbed four basis points to 2.39 percent, the biggest advance in almost three weeks.
- Germany’s 10-year yield rose one basis point to 0.31 percent.
- Britain’s 10-year yield declined less than one basis point to 1.148 percent.
- West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.3 percent to $57.13 a barrel.
- Gold increased 0.4 percent to $1,261.55 an ounce, the highest in more than a week.
- Copper gained 0.3 percent to $6,905 a metric ton.
— With assistance by Livia Yap, Shingo Kawamoto, Susanne Barton, Chris Anstey, and Cormac Mullen