HONG KONG – World stock markets were mixed on Friday as investors waited to see if U.S. politicians could pass tax reform legislation before Christmas.
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KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 shed 0.4 percent to 5,337 and Germany's DAX lost 0.2 percent to 13,044. Britain's FTSE 100 edged up 0.1 percent to 7,458 after EU leaders said they would allow the Brexit talks to move on to the next stage, including trade. Wall Street was poised to open slightly higher. Both the Dow and S&P 500 futures were up 0.3 percent.
TAXING TIME: President Donald Trump's $1.5 trillion U.S. tax overhaul was teetering on a knife-edge in the Senate, complicating Republican leaders' goal of pushing it through Congress next week and shaking investor confidence. Senator Marco Rubio vowed to vote against the bill, which gives generous tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy, unless child tax credits are expanded. The bill's original version was approved by only 51-49, with Rubio's support.
MARKET INSIGHT: For the week ahead, "the main focus will be on whether the tax reform package will be wrapped up by the year's end and a longer spending package will be agreed to head off a partial government shutdown on December 23," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital in Sydney. The uncertainty adds to investor risk but "a correction is likely to wait till next year," he added.
JAPAN SURVEY: Corporate sentiment in Asia's second biggest economy is at an 11-year high, according to a quarterly survey. The Bank of Japan's "tankan" large manufacturers' business outlook based on a poll of more than 10,000 companies posted its strongest reading since late 2006, in the latest sign that the economy is gaining momentum.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index dipped 0.6 percent to close at 22,553.22 but South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.5 percent to 2,482.07. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.1 percent to 28,848.11 and the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.8 percent to 3,266.14. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 sank 0.2 percent to 5,997.00. Indexes in Taiwan and Southeast Asia declined.
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CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 112.20 yen from 112.37 yen on Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1809 from $1.1776.
ENERGY: Oil futures advanced. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 20 cents to $57.24 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 44 cents on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 5 cents to $63.36 per barrel in London.