World Shares Gain as Focus Turns to U.S. Tax Overhaul

A man looks at an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Share prices were higher in Europe on Monday after a day of robust gains in Asia. Japan’s benchmark jumped 1.6 percent on news the country’s exports surged in November. Wall Street looks set to extend last week’s gains on optimism over prospects for U.S. tax reform legislation.

Germany’s DAX advanced 1.2 percent to 13,252.96 and the CAC 40 of France climbed 1.2 percent to 5,411.67. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent to 7,528.96. Dow futures gained 0.5 percent to 24,789.00 and S&P 500 futures were up 0.3 percent at 2,689.10, pointing to an upbeat start on Wall Street.

U.S. indexes closed at record highs as investors welcomed signs that Republicans in Congress were solidifying support for a major overhaul of the nation’s tax laws. The Republicans are betting that slashing taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals will accelerate growth — despite warnings on federal debt. They hope to muscle the $1.5 trillion bill through Congress this week before a year-end break.

Japan’s exports rose 16 percent in November from a year earlier driven by robust overseas demand for cars and manufacturing equipment that is helping to sustain the longest economic expansion in more than 15 years. Customs data show the trade surplus slipping 23 percent from a year earlier to 113.4 billion yen ($1 billion), however, as imports jumped 17 percent thanks to a surge in purchases of crude oil and natural gas.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index jumped 1.6 percent to 22,914.85, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.6 percent to 28,033.26. South Korea’s Kospi was flat at 2,482.77 and the S&P ASX 200 in Australia advanced 0.7 percent to 6,038.90. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.3 percent to 3,256.46. Shares in Southeast Asia were mixed.

Benchmark U.S. crude added 41 cents to $57.71 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 26 cents to settle at $57.30 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 60 cents to $63.83. It fell 8 cents to close at $63.23 per barrel in London.

The U.S. dollar strengthened to 112.64 Japanese yen from 112.60 late Friday. The euro also gained, to $1.1795 from $1.1747.