European stocks edged higher Tuesday as U.S. equity futures moved further into positive territory as global investors continue to ride this year's bull market to the end ahead of an expected vote by Congressional lawmakers on President Donald Trump's signature tax reform bill.
Wall Street futures look set to extend gains Tuesday, following the 70th record close of the year -- the most ever in a single year -- last night for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, with contracts tied to the benchmark rising 30 points in early European trading and those linked to the broader S&P 500 marked 1.75 points, or 0.06%, to the upside.
European stocks reacted in kind, although early gains were tempered by modestly stronger currencies in both Britain and the Continent, as the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.2% in the opening minutes of trading and Germany's DAX performance index bumped 0.08% to the downside. The broadest measure of regional equities, the Stoxx Europe 600 index, was held at a six-week high of 392.70 points.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, softened modestly overnight to trade at 93.58, a move that more closely reflects the bond market's recent sombre tone on growth. Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields are holding steady at around 2.39% while 2-year notes were marked at 1.83%, suggesting bond investors feel the $1.5 trillion tax reform bill may provide a short-term spike in inflation but won't necessarily ignite sustainable longer-term growth.
The dollar's pullback also kept a lid on gains for stocks in Asia, although Japan's Nikkei 225 still ended up closing 0.15% to the good at 22,868 points while the region-wide MSCI Asia ex-Japan index clawed it way to a 0.07% gain as the session drew to a close.
Bitcoin prices were also largely stable from yesterday's closing levels, as futures contracts from both the CME Group and the CBOE smooth out price differentials between buying the cryptocurrent for immediate delivery or for settlement in the month of January.
Spot bitcoins on the bitstamp exchange were seen changing hands at $17,940 each in early European trading, while CBOE futures were priced at $18,580 and CME futures at $18,750 each.
Global oil prices extended gains Tuesday after the operator of the Forties Pipeline System made no changes to the repair time estimate for the pivotal North Sea conduit.
"At this stage it is still too early to say exactly how long the repair will take to complete, and there is no change to the previously indicated timescale of two to four weeks from 11th Dec.," the Ineos Group noted. "We will work to complete this as quickly as possible but safety is our highest priority."
Brent oil prices for February delivery were marked 0.3% higher at $63.60 following the statement, while February delivery prices for West Texas crude rose 0.5% to $57.44 per barrel. The moves, however, narrowed the spread between the two benchmark to around $6.14, around $1 lower than the two-and-a-half year high it touched when the Forties System shutdown was first reported last week.