- International markets have offered something of a muted reaction to the passage of the tax bill in the U.S. on Wednesday
- Catalonia goes to the polls Thursday for a regional election following several months of political turbulence and uncertainty
European stocks eked out gains Thursday after the U.S. Congress approved an overhaul of the U.S. tax code that will cut corporate tax rates.
The pan-European STOXX 600 reversed early morning losses to trade up around 0.1 percent, with sectors pointing in different directions. Markets in general have offered something of a muted reaction to the passage of the tax bill in the U.S., following a modest rally earlier this week.
The sweeping changes to the tax code will see the corporate tax rate drop from 35 percent to 21 percent but the bill’s critics say it favors the wealthy and analysis shows it will add nearly $1.5 trillion to the U.S. deficit.
The bill is now set to go to President Donald Trump’s desk to be signed into law, although the exact timing of that ceremony is unclear.
Nokia rises on Huawei deal
Looking at individual stock news, shares of Finnish network equipment maker Nokia rose over 2 percent after it signed a patent licensing deal with Chinese technology giant Huawei.
U.K. housebuilder Balfour Beatty was also posting strong gains after it sold a 12.5 percent stake in highway operator Connect Plus, boosting profit for the year.
Meantime, Beazley was the STOXX 600’s top performer, up over 3.5 percent, after Bernstein upgraded its rating and price target on the insurer.
Deutsche Bank shares were trading in the red after it announced plans on Wednesday to cut up to 1,000 jobs as part of the integration of Postbank.
Steinhoff continued its volatile swings, with the retailer hitting a new record low in early deals, before paring some of its losses; last down 3 percent.
Catalonia in focus
In central bank news, markets in Asia digested news that the Bank of Japan had maintained its monetary policyat its latest meeting, as inflation still remains far from its target of 2 percent.
Back in Europe, Catalonia goes to the polls Thursday for a regional election following several months of political turbulence and uncertainty. Spain’s government sacked the regional government in Catalonia after it declared independence in October. Polls show the vote is too close to call between secessionist and pro-unity parties. Results are due late Thursday evening.
Meanwhile in the U.K., Prime Minister Theresa May is facing another setback after the resignation of her most senior minister, Damian Green, following a pornography scandal. May reportedly forced Green to resign Wednesday after an internal investigation found that he had made misleading comments about pornography found on computers in his parliamentary office, Reuters reported.
Source CNBC International
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