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Dollar, stock futures gain indicate a merry start for Asian shares

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Written by Syndicated News

SYDNEY , Dec 4 2017 : The U.S. dollar bounced to a two-week top today 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 jumped 0.7 percent at the open today, while Nikkei futures climbed more than 1 percent.

“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.

Fed fund futures 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 off 5 cents at $63.68 a barrel. Spot gold eased 0.5 percent to 1,273.67.

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