European markets brush off worries over German uncertainty

November 21, 2017
People walk past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. Shares are higher in Asia after Wall Street regained lost ground overnight. Japan’s benchmark rebounded as the yen held steady against the dollar. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

LONDON (AP) — European stock markets pushed higher Tuesday as investors brushed aside concerns over the political uncertainty in Germany following an upbeat session in Asia where Hong Kong’s main index enjoyed its biggest advance in nearly two months.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 0.9 percent at 13,169 while France’s CAC 40 rose 0.7 percent to 5,378. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.3 percent higher at 7,413. U.S. stocks were poised for solid gains at the open with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures both up 0.3 percent.

GERMANY: Europe’s biggest economy is in focus after talks to form a government between German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc and the left-leaning Greens and pro-business Free Democrats broke down earlier this week. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier planned meetings with the leaders of the Greens and Free Democrats, the two parties that had been in negotiations with Merkel.

ANALYST TAKE: “This might result in fresh elections and/or Angela Merkel standing down as Chancellor,” said Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital. “The consequences of this could include much less chance of reforming the EU and moving towards fiscal union and banking union. It might even put a longer term question mark over the viability and future of the EU.”

US/THANKSGIVING: With the U.S. gearing up for Thanksgiving on Thursday, trading levels across financial markets are expected to get even more constrained. However, traders will be monitoring developments in Congress over President Donald Trump’s tax reform package and any signals related to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the day that really kick-starts the Christmas shopping season.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.7 percent to finish at 22,416.48, while the Kospi in South Korea added 0.1 percent to 2,530.70. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.9 percent to 29,818.07. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.3 percent to 5,963.50 and the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.5 percent to 3,410.50.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil was down a cent to $56.41 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude, the international standard, fell 11 cents to $62.10 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The euro was down 0.1 percent at $1.1717 while the dollar was steady at 112.58 yen.

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