Dollar, stock futures gain on U.S. tax cut progress

2017 12 03T234833Z 1 LYNXMPEDB20ME RTROPTP 0 GLOBAL MARKETS 1 150x150 - Dollar, stock futures gain on U.S. tax cut progress

A woman walks past an electronic board showing the graphs of the recent movements of Japan's Nikkei average in Tokyo
A woman walks in strong wind caused by Typhoon Lan, past an electronic board showing the graphs of the recent movements of Japan’s Nikkei average outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, October 23, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

December 3, 2017

By Swati Pandey

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar bounced to a two-week top on Monday as traders celebrated the passage of a Senate tax bill over the weekend, while stronger U.S. stock futures pointed to a merry start for Asian shares.

The greenback jumped 0.7 percent <JPY=> in early Asian trade to as far as 112.98 yen, the highest since Nov. 17. It climbed 0.5 percent last week, a welcome reprieve to bulls after three straight sessions of losses.

The U.S. Senate approved a tax overhaul on Saturday, moving Republicans and President Donald Trump a big step closer to their goal of slashing taxes for businesses and the rich.

The move is likely to further boost corporate profits and lead to a slew of share buy-backs. U.S. stock markets have already rallied for months on hopes that Washington would provide significant tax cuts for corporations.

Indeed, EMini S&P stock futures <ESc1> jumped 0.7 percent at the open on Monday, while Nikkei futures <NKc1> climbed more than 1 percent.

“The chances of tax cuts being placed onto Trump’s desk to sign through have increased markedly and we start this week with the process of reconciliation between both the House and Senate tax plan,” said Chris Weston, Melbourne-based chief market strategist at IG.

“One questions what could really derail sentiment as we head into the final month, and one that is traditionally a great breeding ground for equity appreciation.”

As risk-on trade gathers momentum, U.S. Treasury futures fell sharply, with the March contract slipping 14 ticks. <TYc1>

Fed fund futures <0#FF:> dipped as the market priced in the risk of faster rate hikes from the Federal Reserve, given fiscal policy was set to be eased even while the economy was running at or near full employment.

The early shift reversed moves on Friday when stocks and the dollar slipped and bonds gained amid worries about a probe into Russia’s involvement in the U.S. election.

Stocks tanked mid-session after an ABC News report that former national adviser Michael Flynn was prepared to testify that Donald Trump instructed him to make contact with Russians during the presidential campaign.

The report was soon retracted with the ABC News clarifying that Trump’s directive was issued after he was elected president, not before.

Elsewhere, traders will focus attention on a meeting scheduled for British Prime Minister Theresa May and EU President Jean-Claude Juncker as they on a Brexit deal.

The euro <EUR=> slipped 0.2 percent, while the British pound <GBP=> edged 0.1 percent higher on media reports that a deal was near on the terms of the Brexit divorce.

Bitcoin <BTC=BTSP> jumped to an all-time high of $11,800 after the U.S. derivatives regulator allowed CME Group <CME.O> and CBOE Global Markets <CBOE.O> to list bitcoin futures.

The cryptocurrency was last up 2.8 percent at $11,180 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.

In commodities, oil was down a touch with Brent crude <LCOc1> off 5 cents at $63.68 a barrel. Spot gold <XAU=> eased 0.5 percent to 1,273.67.

(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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