U.S. stock futures were pointing to a triple-digit jump for the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the start of trading on Monday, Dec. 18, and European stocks surged past a one-month high as global investors prepped for passage of a U.S. tax reform bill that is expected to boost corporate profits and increase share buybacks.

The Dow, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at record highs on Friday, Dec. 15, as investors anticipated a vote on Capitol Hill this week that could put the proposed $1.5 trillion tax cut into law by the end of the year.

Modestly weaker domestic currencies were helping European markets on Monday. Britian's FTSE 100 rose 0.5%, the DAX in Germany soared 1.5%, and the CAC-40 in France gained 1.1%.

Overnight in Asia, the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 1.55% and the region-wide MSCI ex-Japan index gained 0.42% despite weakness in China markets owning to another push to curb speculation by the country's regulators.

Global oil prices edged higher again Monday as traders continued to factor in both the shutdown of the Forties North Sea pipeline system and a surprise reduction in the number of U.S drilling installations, which fell for the first time in six weeks last week.

Brent futures for February delivery rose 0.6% to at $63.58 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate crude gained 0.6% to $57.66.

Hershey Co. (HSY) - Get Report  reached a deal to acquire Amplify Snack Brands Inc. , the maker of SkinnyPop, for $12 a share, or a total of $1.6 billion including debt.

The price of $12 a share values Amplify at a 71% premium to its closing price of $7 on Friday, Dec. 15. The stock jumped to $11.96 in premarket trading.

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CSX Corp. (CSX) - Get Report shares were set to extend recent losses on Monday following the sudden death of CEO Hunter Harrison and questions over the fate of the freight company's multi-billion turnaround strategy. 

Harrison, 73, had taken a medical leave of absence from the company last week but died Saturday "due to unexpectedly severe complications from a recent illness," the company said in a statement. "Calling Harrison a "larger-than-life" figure, CSX Chairman Edward Kelly vowed to "continue to consider in a deliberative way how best to maximize CSX's performance over the long term."

CSX shares fell 2.4% in premarket trading, after declining 7.6% on Friday.

Twitter Inc. (TWTR) - Get Report  shares were set to open at a year-to-day high Monday as the social media group begins to enforce rules that will crackdown on extremist content and possibly smooth the path for renewed takeover interest in the microblogging platform. The stock gained 4.8% in premarket trading on Monday.

The stock also appeared to be a getting a bump from a Monday upgrade by JPMorgan Chase, which raised its price target on the company to $27 from $20 and shifted it recommendation to "overweight."

Snyder's-Lance Inc. (LNCE) jumped 6.9% in premarket trading Monday to $50 after Campbell Soup Co. (CPB) - Get Report  reached a deal to buy the pretzel and chips maker for $50 a share, or $4.87 billion.

Bitcoin prices began to converge slowly on Monday as the launch of a second futures contract linked to the cryptocurrency looks to have smoothed some of the gaps around global trading benchmarks as regulators set their sights on the $500 billion market.

The CME Group's debut of its 5-to-1 bitcoin futures contract, which is linked to a reference rate taken from a range of cryptocurrency exchanges, appears to have brought some level of convergence to the market, with its front-month product trading at $19,500 against a $19,270 price quoted for the similar week-old contact trading on the Cboe.

Spot bitcoin prices, which denote immediate purchases of the digital currency, were quoted at around $18,912 on the bitstamp trading platform, one of the main exchanges that feeds prices into the CME Group's calculation of its futures contract.

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