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Markets are seeing mixed movements today with Europe stocks slightly higher while Asian stocks drifted lower. Investors are waiting to hear from the Fed later today. Oil moves lower for a second day in a row and Bitcoin continues to stride towards the $10,000 level. Here are the most important things to know for today’s trading.

 

Markets are seeing mixed movements today with Europe stocks slightly higher while Asian stocks drifted lower. Investors are waiting to hear from the Fed later today. Oil moves lower for a second day in a row and Bitcoin continues to stride towards the $10,000 level. Here are the most important things to know for today’s trading.

 

1. Global stocks mixed

Global stock markets were mixed, as Chinese equities remained in focus following recent declines.

Asian-Pacific markets drifted away from decade highs, as Chinese stocks stumbled for a second straight session, with confidence dented by rising bond yields as Beijing intensified a crackdown on risky financing, threatening to squeeze corporate profits.

In Europe, most of the region's bourses were slightly higher in mid-morning trade, as market players cheered results from the Bank of England's stress test, which deemed that UK lenders could deal with a "disorderly" Brexit.

On Wall Street, U.S. stock futures pointed to a small step higher at the open. Wall Street's major indexes ended little changed on Monday, retreating modestly from record highs set during the session.

2. Fed insights


Markets awaited comments from the next head of the Federal Reserve for fresh clues on the likely trajectory of monetary policy.

Jerome Powell, selected by President Donald Trump as the next Fed chair, appears before the Senate Banking Committee at 14:45 GMT for his confirmation hearing, which should provide some insight into how he plans to lead the Fed.

In remarks released ahead of his hearing, Powell said he will stay on the course laid out by his predecessor Janet Yellen and continue to raise interest rates while allowing its balance sheet to gradually shrink.

He added that the Fed needed the capacity "to respond decisively and with appropriate force" to new threats to the economy.

The U.S. central bank is scheduled to hold its final policy meeting of the year on Dec. 12-13, with interest rate futures pricing in a 100% chance of a rate hike at that meeting. However, markets appeared doubtful over the central bank's ability to raise rates as much as it would like next year due to concern over the sluggish inflation outlook.

3. Oil moves lower

Oil prices headed lower for the second day in a row, with traders questioned whether Thursday’s OPEC meeting will result in an extension to an output-cut deal that was agreed upon at the start of this year, as Russia has sent mixed signals about whether it will back the move. Those production cuts are due to expire in March 2018.

Easing concern over a disruption to U.S. supplies also weighed after TransCanada said its Keystone pipeline will resume operations on Tuesday, though at a “reduced level” to allow a safe and controlled run of service.

U.S. crude futures lost 50 cents, or about 0.8%, to $57.62 a barrel, while Brent was at $62.98, down 40 cents, or 0.7%, from its last close.

Meanwhile, industry group the American Petroleum Institute is due to release its weekly report at 21:30 GMT, amid forecasts for an oil-stock drop of around 3.1 million barrels.

4. Bitcoin closer to $10,000

The price of the digital currency bitcoin soared to another record high, closing in on the symbolic $10,000 threshold, amid growing fears over an asset bubble.

Bitcoin rose to $9,895 on the U.S.-based Bitfinex exchange, the highest in its nine-year history. It was last at $9,850, up 1.2% on the day.

Bitcoin, which started 2017 at about $1,000 and broke through $5,000 in October has risen almost 900% so far this year as investors in the digital currency shrug off warnings of a bubble.

Ethereum, the second most valuable cryptocurrency by market cap after bitcoin, was at $473.26 after rising to a record high of $491.89 on Monday. It is up more than 5,200% for the year to date.