Stock markets are mostly higher on Monday as upbeat U.S. jobs data from last week and signs of progress in the Brexit talks continued to support investor sentiment.
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KEEPING SCORE: Britain's climbed 0.6 percent to 7,435, adding to gains from last week, when Britain and the European Union said they had achieved enough progress in the Brexit talks to start discussing the key issue of trade. Germany's DAX was flat at 13,153 while the CAC 40 in France shed 0.1 percent to 5,392. Dow futures added 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures were up almost 0.1 percent.
ANALYST'S VIEWPOINT: "The U.S. Federal Reserve, the ECB and the Bank of England will issue interest rate announcements this week. While the Fed is almost certain to lift rates by 0.25 percent, the consensus points to no changes from the ECB and Bank of England. The central bankers' take on the state of growth and inflation are potentially market moving. U.S. inflation and retail sales numbers, and November industrial production in China headline a long list of releases this week," Michael McCarthy of CMC Markets said in a commentary.
BITCOIN: The first-ever bitcoin future jumped as the increasingly popular virtual currency made its debut on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. The futures contract that expires in January surged more than $3,000 to $18,850 during Asian trading hours after it was launched on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. By midday in Europe it was at $17,830. The price of an actual bitcoin has soared since it began the year below $1,000 and on Friday was at $16,551 on the private exchange Coindesk.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.6 percent to 22,983.73 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 1.0 percent to 28,923.94. The S&P ASX 200 in Australia edged 0.1 percent higher to 6,030.01 and the Shanghai Composite index added 0.9 percent to 3,318.87. South Korea's Kospi picked up 0.3 percent at 2,471.49. India's Sensex rose 0.2 percent to 33,329.96 and shares in Southeast Asia also were higher.
ENERGY: The price of oil edged up, with benchmark U.S. crude gaining 23 cents to $57.59 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 67 cents on Friday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 30 cents to $63.70 per barrel. It rose $1.20 on Friday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 113.32 Japanese yen from 113.48 yen late Friday. The euro rose to $1.1796 from $1.1774, and the British pound dropped to $1.3366 from $1.3465.