Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the U.S. central bank expects to slow the pace of its bond purchases later this year and bring them to a halt around mid-2014, comments that weighed on stocks and pushed bond yields to a 15-month high. Full Article | Instant view
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European shares near fresh year highs on US fiscal hopes
LONDON Dec 18 (Reuters) - European shares rose early on Tuesday, tracking gains overnight on Wall Street fuelled by expectation that U.S. politicians were close to a deal to avoid steep tax hikes and spending cuts that threaten the global economy.
By 0802 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 was up 3.56 points, or 0.3 percent at 1,136.08, approaching fresh highs for 2012 along with Germany's DAX up 0.4 percent at 7,632.51 and France's CAC up 0.3 percent at 3,648.09, respectively.
In the United States, the S&P 500 closed up 1.2 percent after U.S. President Barack Obama made a counter-offer to Republicans that included a major change in position on tax hikes for the wealthy, according to a source familiar with the talks.
"Overnight news on the fiscal cliff has been taken positively by the markets here in Europe after underperforming the U.S. recently," Securequity sales trader Jawaid Afsar said.
He said that could drive further gains heading into the seasonal holiday period, which could take the FTSE 100 to the long awaited 6,000 area by the end of the year with the key themes to play the miners and financials.
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