Floor traders work at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.(Photo: Frank Franklin II, AP)
LONDON -- U.S. stocks were preparing for their final trading day of
2012 Monday, on a day when Washington lawmakers have less than 24 hours
to prevent the U.S. economy from tumbling over the so-called fiscal
cliff and potentially back into recession.
U.S. stock index
futures were higher ahead of the opening bell, pointing to a higher open
on Wall Street as congressional leaders were expected to restart
last-ditch efforts to broker a "fiscal cliff" deal at 11:00 a.m. ET.
markets across the world have fared well this year, with benchmarks in
Europe and Asia leading the way. The Stoxx Europe 600 stock index is set
to gain around 14% for the year; in Japan, the Nikkei Average added
over 22% on an annual basis.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has
seen more modest advances in 2012 - up around 6% for the year ahead of
today's session, and partly held in check by heightened anxiety over
budget negotiations that have left Republicans and Democrats divided
over tax increases and spending cuts.
In Europe, notable regional
stock indexes traded in opposite directions, with mining and banking
stocks in London falling, but shares in Paris on the rise.
Trading during the Asia market day ended on a sour note, apart from mainland China stocks, which saw gains.
no U.S. deal is done, a series of automatic tax increases and spending
cuts will be triggered at midnight, and the U.S. can be expected to face
around $671 billion of tax increases and spending cuts in the early
part of 2013.
"With the gulf between both parties still wide and
the desire to protect their supporters' key interests so ingrained, it
is difficult to see how both sides can compromise enough to agree a deal
at this point," said Rebecca O'Keeffe, head of investment at
In other financial markets, the euro
currency declined 0.2% against the dollar at $1.3191, and the price of
benchmark New York crude fell 11 cents to $90.69 a barrel.