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GLOBAL MARKETS-Earnings boost equities with U.S. tax announcement eyed
April 25, 2017 / 6:31 PM / 5 months ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Earnings boost equities with U.S. tax announcement eyed

* Wall Street climbs, Nasdaq tops 6,000 mark

* Oil edges up in choppy trade

* Markets await Trump tax announcement on Wednesday (Adds close of European markets)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, April 25 (Reuters) - Global stock markets rallied for a second consecutive day on Tuesday on solid U.S. earnings, aided by speculation about U.S. tax reform and reduced chances of a U.S. government shutdown this weekend.

Wall Street gained as concerns about France’s election waned and investors cheered earnings from companies such as McDonald’s Corp, up 5.4 percent, and Caterpillar Inc, up 7.6 percent. The Nasdaq Composite index breached the 6,000 mark for the first time.

“They are leading the train today,” said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O‘Neil Securities in New York.

“Part of it is just that momentum, you are caught in it but you can’t get in front of a moving train, so the momentum is such that you have to let it run.”

Markets also maintained the boost from the French election results, with recent opinion polls have centrist Emmanuel Macron, who won with a comfortable lead over far-right, anti-EU candidate Marine Le Pen in a May 7 run-off vote.

Safe-haven assets such as gold and the Japanese yen retreated, while the yield gap between French and German short-term government bonds, a closely watched measure of political risk in the euro zone, hit its lowest in almost three months..

Investor focus shifted to corporate earnings and U.S. President Donald Trump’s promise to announce “a big tax reform and tax reduction” on Wednesday.

The threat of a U.S. government shutdown this weekend appeared to recede on Tuesday after Trump backed away from a demand that Congress include funding for his planned border wall with Mexico in a spending bill.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 254.13 points, or 1.22 percent, to 21,018.02, the S&P 500 gained 15.88 points, or 0.67 percent, to 2,390.03 and the Nasdaq Composite added 45.95 points, or 0.77 percent, to 6,029.77.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.21 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.65 percent after touching a high of 456.42.

French shares closed up 0.2 percent, after a 4.1 percent surge on Monday, their biggest daily gain since August 2012.

The euro added to Monday’s gains against the dollar, up 0.63 percent to $1.0935.

The Canadian dollar fell 0.6 percent to C$1.3583 per U.S. dollar after the United States announced new duties averaging 20 percent on Canadian softwood lumber imports.

The Japanese yen weakened 1.26 percent versus the greenback at 111.14 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.2826, up 0.26 percent on the day.

Gold, also seen as a safe-haven asset, fell. Spot gold dropped 0.9 percent to $1,263.26 an ounce. U.S. gold futures fell 0.98 percent to $1,265.00 an ounce.

Oil prices edged up in choppy trade on Tuesday as U.S. crude inventory data that was forecast to show a drawdown faced doubts about OPEC’s ability to reduce a global glut.

U.S. crude rose 0.39 percent to $49.42 per barrel and Brent was last at $51.93, up 0.64 percent on the day.

Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Richard Chang

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