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The New Deals

A spirit of deal making is buoying markets into year end. The US tax reform deal has now passed both houses of parliament. The Polish prime minister is weighing in to facilitate a Brexit deal and Australia corporate deals are helping lift the local market to post GFC highs.

The restrained response from US investors to tax reform is surprising. The modest gains in shares stand in high contrast to strong support for industrial commodities. Oil, copper and iron ore all added to recent strength in the overnight session. The exception is the UK, where the FTSE set a new record as Poland emerged as a strong ally in Brexit negotiations.

Futures markets indicate opening gains for Asia Pacific markets with key indices poised at inflection points. The Hang Seng is nearing 30,000, the Nikkei is pushing up to 23,000 and the Australia 200 index has burst through 6,000.

The extra propellant in Australia is the whiff of corporate activity. The takeover bids for Westfield Corp and Aconex are forcing investors back into the market. This morning Wesfarmers announced the sale of its Curragh coal mine, adding to deal momentum.

Yesterday’s expiry of futures and options may also spur buying today. More than $1.6 billion of stock was called away from investors, equivalent to a third of average daily turnover. This could see a scramble for re-investment today.

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