Tuesday December 19th


Dow looks for a higher opening

U.S. stocks futures are set for a positive open Tuesday, as investors get ready for a vote on a bill that would slash taxes for corporations. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 49 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 3 points and 1.5 points, respectively. Futures rose on Tuesday on the back of a strong performance seen during the previous session. On Monday, stocks closed at all-time highs with the Nasdaq composite briefly hitting 7,000 for the first time during the session. Meantime, the Dow Jones industrial average jumped 140 points by the close, marking its 70th record finish of 2017. Consequently, the positive sentiment seen Stateside provided a slight boost for markets overseas. Markets have been rising recently on the back of hopes that the U.S. tax plan would be passed by Christmas. A vote by Congress is expected to occur as soon as Tuesday, with the tax overhaul hoping to slash the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. While tax reform is expected to take a lot of the focus on Tuesday, data and earnings are also expected to move some sentiment during the session. In data news, all the major economic figures are expected to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, which is set to include housing starts, building permits and the current account data. Major Asian indexes closed mostly higher on Tuesday after U.S. stocks finished the Monday session at record highs on optimism ahead of the passage of a key tax bill. Japan's Nikkei 225 closed lower by 0.15 percent, or 33.77 points, at 22,868. In Seoul, the benchmark Kospi index shed 0.13 percent to close at 2,478.53 as even blue-chip tech names rose. Greater China markets, meanwhile, trended higher. The Hang Seng Index was up a convincing 0.86 percent by 3:01 p.m. HK/SIN as gains in tech, financial and casino stocks offset losses seen in property names. Mainland markets also notched gains, with the Shanghai Composite tacking on 0.88 percent to end at 3,296.68 and the Shenzhen Composite advancing 0.87 percent to finish at 1,905.62.Oil edged up towards $64 a barrel on Tuesday, supported by the Forties pipeline outage in the North Sea, OPEC-led supply cuts and jitters about threats to Middle East supplies after a missile was fired by a Yemeni group at the Saudi capital. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up 49 cents to $63.72 a barrel at 8:15 a.m. ET (1315 GMT). U.S. crude gained 33 cents to $57.49. Gold edged up on Tuesday as caution ahead of the passage of sweeping new tax legislation in the United States weighed on the dollar, with traders uncertain of its actual impact on economic growth. Moves in the metal were muted, however, with traders wary of taking new positions ahead of the holiday season. Gold is on track to post its narrowest trading range of any quarter in a decade in the last three months of the year. Spot gold was up 0.05 percent at $1,261.76 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures for February delivery were flat at $1,265.