Europe stocks higher amid heightened expectations of US tax cuts

Stock markets in Europe traded higher on Monday morning, amid heightened expectations U.S. lawmakers could pass a long-awaited tax bill.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up around 0.91 percent during early morning deals, with all sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

Europe’s technology stocks were among the top performers on Monday morning, up more than 1.3 percent on news of a takeover bid. French aerospace and defense group Thales announced Sunday it had agreed to buy chip maker Gemalto for around 4.8 billion euros ($5.6 billion). In a joint statement, the two companies said they were aiming to create “a world leader in digital security.” Both firms were trading more than 6 percent higher on the news.

Looking at individual stocks, Vestas shares rose almost 5 percent during early morning deals, amid elevated hopes U.S. lawmakers could pass a tax bill before Christmas. Denmark’s wind power firm, which has a large exposure to the U.S. market, is reportedly poised to benefit from a continuation of production and investment tax credits included in the overhaul.

Meanwhile, IG Group slumped to the bottom of the benchmark after a trading regulation announcement. Last week, European regulatory authorities proposed new restrictions on contracts for difference and although the online trader said the financial impact of these regulations was unlikely to be significant, its shares were more than 8 percent lower Monday.

Tax overhaul

Global markets have rallied this year, largely on the back of optimism regarding U.S. tax cuts. The overhaul is seen boosting corporate profits, triggering share buybacks and resulting in higher dividend payouts — all to the benefit of shareholders. A vote on the legislation is scheduled for later this week.

Meanwhile, the launch of bitcoin futures on the CME exchange Monday emboldened expectations that the digital currency’s runaway rally in the cash market could continue. The world’s most popular cryptocurrency was trading at around $18,945 on Monday morning, according to Coindesk’s bitcoin price index. It had climbed to fresh record highs of $19,666 on Sunday.

In commodities, oil prices were slightly higher on Monday morning, supported by an ongoing North Sea pipeline outage and prolonged OPEC-led production cuts. Brent crude traded at around $63.50 a barrel on, up 0.43 percent, while U.S. crude was seen at $57.58 a barrel, up 0.49 percent.

Source: CNBC