European stock markets opened mixed Wednesday morning, as the long-awaited U.S. tax overhaul wound its way through Congress.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was broadly flat shortly after the opening bell with most sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions.
The U.S. Senate comfortably approved sweeping tax legislation on Wednesday, allowing President Donald Trump to move a step closer to claiming his first major legislative victory. The tax bill will now go back to the House for a final vote later in the session.
The proposed U.S. tax legislation would slash corporate tax rates to 21 percent, down from 35 percent, with investors betting this will boost company profits and trigger share buybacks. However, while Republicans argue the tax cuts will support economic growth; critics of the bill say the package is a deficit-bloating giveaway to the super-rich.
In recent weeks, global markets have fluctuated in response to mixed expectations about Trump’s ability to push through the signature tax overhaul.
In commodities, oil prices edged higher on Wednesday morning, supported by an ongoing outage of the North Sea pipeline system as well as prolonged OPEC-led production cuts. Brent crude traded at around $63.96 a barrel, up 0.25 percent, while U.S. crude was seen at $57.73, up 0.31 percent.