Monday December 4th


Dow futures soar 250 points as tax bill approval boosts sentiment

U.S. stocks futures pointed to a strong positive open on Monday, as sentiment was boosted by news that the U.S. Senate narrowly passed a major tax bill over the weekend. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 250 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 15 points and 26.25 points, respectively. Shares of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Citigroup soared in the premarket, rising at least 2 percent. In the early hours of Saturday morning, Senate Republicans managed to narrowly pass a bill to revamp the country's tax system. The final vote came out as 51-49 in favor, after Republicans had to rework the bill late on Thursday. The GOP however still need to overcome future obstacles in order for the Senate and the House to craft a joint bill, which will then be presented to President Donald Trump. Republicans hope a deal will be achieved by Christmas. While tax was supposed to dominate sentiment in the previous trading session, markets closed lower on Friday after having been taken on a roller coaster ride. U.S. stocks finished in the red Friday after a report emerged stating that former national security advisor Michael Flynn was directed by Trump to talk to Russians. ABC News had initially reported on Friday, citing an unnamed source, that Flynn was getting ready to testify that he made proposals to the Russian ambassador at Trump's request, during the run-up of the 2016 U.S. election. The media outlet went on to correct the report, stating that Flynn would likely say that Trump's instructions had occurred after the election took place. Shifting to Monday, investors will be poring over news that U.S. drugstore operator CVS Health is to buy Aetna, a U.S. health insurer, for $69 billion. The agreement is seen as one of 2017's biggest deals so far in the M&A (merger and acquisition) space. Ascena Retail and Coupa Software are expected to publish earnings on Monday. Meanwhile on the data front, factory orders are set to be published at 10 a.m. ET. In commodities, oil cartel OPEC and non-OPEC producing nation Russia agreed to limit their production output through to the end of next year. While oil price rose on the back of the news last week, prices are trading in the red Monday, following news that U.S. shale drillers had added more rigs in the previous week. February Brent crude futures were down 46 cents at $63.27 a barrel by 8:09 a.m. ET (1309 GMT), while U.S. West Texas Intermediate was down 58 cents at $57.78. The Brent price hit a two-year high of $64.65 a month ago and has since attracted record investment by fund managers. Looking to markets in other regions, European shares traded higher in early trade Monday, while markets in Asia finished relatively mixed to lower, as investors eyed trade on Wall Street. Japan's Nikkei 225 declined by 111.87 points, or 0.49 percent, to 22,707.16 while the Topix index fell 9.66 points, or 0.54 percent, to 1,786.87. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi stood out from its peers, closing up 26.26 points, or 1.06 percent, at 2,501.67. Chinese mainland markets see-sawed between gains and losses throughout the session. In the afternoon, the Shanghai composite closed down 7.24 points, or 0.22 percent, at 3,310.36 while the Shenzhen composite fell 13.89 points, or 0.72 percent, to 1,902.91. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index reversed early losses of near 0.3 percent to climb 0.6 percent at 3:11 p.m. HK/SIN. Elsewhere, major indexes in Indonesia and India also rose in afternoon trade. The price of gold fell on Monday towards the four-week lows hit last week as the dollar rose after U.S. politicians over the weekend approved a major tax overhaul and the market looked ahead to a meeting of the Federal Reserve later this month. Spot gold was down 0.6 percent at $1,273.00 an ounce, at 0735 GMT compared with last Thursday's $1,270.11, its lowest level since Nov. 6. U.S. gold futures fell 0.5 percent to $1,275.90 an ounce.