Wall Street could take another run at record highs Thursday as investors extend gains following the Federal Reserve's much-anticipated rate hike and surprisingly dovish outlook for further increases next year and bet on an impending agreement on tax cuts from U.S. lawmakers in Washington.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were trading 32 points higher after a record close for the benchmark on Wednesday while those linked to the broader S&P 500 were up 2 points, or 0.07%. Investors likely will focus on the dollar, which fell against a basket of six global currencies to 93.38, extending its decline from earlier this week to around 0.75%, as well as earnings from Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) - Get Report , Oracle Corp. (ORCL) - Get Report and Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) - Get Report .
Retail sales in the U.S. during November rose 0.8%, the Census Bureau said on Thursday, above estimates that called for an increase of 0.3%.
Jobless claims for the week ended Dec. 9, declined 11,000 to 225,000.
The session's biggest headlines, however, were coming from a deal for Walt Disney Co. (DIS) - Get Report to buy Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.'s (FOXA) - Get Report film and TV businesses for $52.4 billion.
Fox shares turned lower in premarket trading on Thursday, falling slightly to $32.64, while Disney also reversed course and fell 0.9%.
In overnight trading, the weaker U.S. dollar dictated markets in Asia and boosted the value of currencies in Europe, lifting the pound past the 1.3437 mark against the greenback.
Britain's FTSE 100 benchmark fell 16 points after the Bank of England voted Thursday to keep its monetary policy unchanged.
The euro was rising after the European Central Bank left rates unchanged and maintained its dovish guidance. The DAX in Germany fell 0.66%.
The pullbacks in Europe also followed data showing eurozone economic activity surged to its fastest pace in nearly seven years this month as Germany's key manufacturing sector sped to its fastest pace on record amid the ongoing uuroboom recovery that is driving gains in the world's biggest trading bloc.
Overnight in Asia, stocks were mixed following both the Fed decision, which stuck to its projections of three rate hikes in 2018 even as it forecast faster growth for the world's largest economy, as Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped for a third consecutive session to close 0.28% lower at 22,964.45 points and the broader MSCI Asia ex-Japan index gained 0.13%.
China's central bank, the People's Bank of China, reacted to the Fed's rate hike -- which was nearly unanimously anticipated by markets -- with a surprise rate hike for both open market operations and medium-term lending.
Global oil markets were weaker, owing to the ongoing shutdown of the Forties North Sea pipeline, which is pulling 450,000 barrels of oil from the market each day, and a larger-than-expected 3.3 million barrel decline in U.S. crude stocks reported Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.
Brent crude futures for February delivery gave back early gains to trade 0.3% lower to $62.26 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude contracts for the same month fell 0.6% to $56.19 a barrel.
Spot bitcoin prices were at $16,765, according to CoinDesk.
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