U.S. tax legislation fuels Santa rally in global stocks

U.S. tax legislation fuels Santa rally in global stocks

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Share prices were higher in Europe on Monday after a day of robust gains in Asia as investors anticipated passage of U.S. tax legislation that could boost corporate profits in the world's largest economy.

Japan's benchmark was the standout, jumping 1.6 percent on news the country's exports surged in November.

Wall Street looked set to extend last week's gains.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX advanced 1.6 percent to 13,317.65 and the CAC 40 of France climbed 1.2 percent to 5,414.27. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.4 percent to 7,519.43. Dow futures gained 0.6 percent to 24,827.00 and S&P 500 futures were up 0.4 percent at 2,682.25, pointing to an upbeat start on Wall Street.

TAX REFORM: U.S. indexes closed at record highs as investors welcomed signs that Republicans in Congress were solidifying support for a major overhaul of the nation's tax laws. The Republicans are betting that slashing taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals will accelerate growth — despite warnings on federal debt. They hope to muscle the $1.5 trillion bill through Congress this week before a year-end break.

HO, HO, HO: Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG, cited grounds for optimism that included the prospect of corporate tax cuts that could leave companies with more money for earnings and dividends, along with news that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is inching close to a new governing coalition. "The Santa rally is well and truly on," he said. "We are expecting to see another record open for U.S. markets."

JAPAN TRADE: Japan's exports rose 16 percent in November from a year earlier driven by robust overseas demand for cars and manufacturing equipment that is helping to sustain the longest economic expansion in more than 15 years.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 index jumped 1.6 percent to 22,914.85, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.6 percent to 28,033.26. South Korea's Kospi was flat at 2,482.77 and the S&P ASX 200 in Australia advanced 0.7 percent to 6,038.90. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.3 percent to 3,256.46.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 23 cents to $57.53 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 18 cents to $63.41.

CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar slipped to 112.52 Japanese yen from 112.60 late Friday. The euro also gained, to $1.1792 from $1.1747.

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David McHUGH and Elaine Kurtenbach


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