European stocks rebounded firmly Wednesday, while U.S. equity futures pointed to another set of records on Wall Street as global markets continue to ride a bullish wave powered by synchronised growth and accelerating corporate profits.
The Stoxx 600 Europe index, the region's broadest measure of share prices, added 0.24% in the opening two hours of trading, driven in part by solid gains for benchmarks in Germany, where the DAX gained 0.43%, and France, where stocks were marked 0.41% higher from their Tuesday close. Britain's FTSE 100 was also in the green, rising 0.1% despite further gains for the pound, which took the currency to 1.3593 against a beaten-down U.S. dollar.
Early indications from Wall Street futures suggest another record run for U.S. stocks today, after a triple set of all time highs on Tuesday, with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average priced 49 points, or 0.2% to the upside and those linked to the S&P 500 marked 4.25 points from last night's close.
Overnight in Asia, the dollar continued to tumble as investors swapped more cash into regional currencies in the wake of much stronger-than-expected readings for manufacturing activity in both China and its neighbouring economies.
The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was marked 0.4% higher as it headed to the close of the session, taking the broadest measure of regional share prices to within touching distance of its all-time peak reached in 2007. Markets in Japan remain closed for the traditional January holiday festival.
Global oil prices were modestly softer in Asia trading, however, despite the upbeat forecasts for growth in some of the world's most heavily-industrialised economies, with investors keeping a keen eye on data from the United States this week on both the domestic levels of crude supplies and the weekly pace of output.
Brent crude contracts for March delivery, the global benchmark, were seen 5 cents lower from their Tuesday close at $66.50 per barrel while WTI contracts for the same month eased 4 cents per barrel to around $60.36.
Bitcoin prices climbed past the $15,000 mark in early European trading, with futures on both the CME Group and CBOE platforms trading at the $15,250 mark. Gold prices, however, eased modestly from its multi-month peaks Tuesday, trading at $1,315 per ounce in early London dealing.
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