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Wall Street kicks off 2018; BP's tax hit; Oil up on Iran worries

1. Welcome to 2018: It's the first trading day of the year on Wall Street and investors are wonderin...

Posted: Jan 2, 2018 1:57 PM
Updated: Jan 2, 2018 1:57 PM

1. Welcome to 2018: It's the first trading day of the year on Wall Street and investors are wondering if the market momentum from 2017 can continue into the new year.

U.S. stock futures are mixed in early trading after markets took a slight dip on the final day of 2017.

Over the past year, the Dow Jones industrial average shot up by 25%, the S&P 500 surged by 19% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq index outshone them with all with a stunning 28% gain.

European markets are mostly negative in early trading, though the losses are modest.

Most Asian markets ended the day with gains. The main Chinese indexes had a particularly good day with gains of 1% to 2%. Investors were feeling optimistic following the release of strong manufacturing data in the country.

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2. Tax take: BP is the latest corporate giant to announce that it will be taking a massive charge in the fourth quarter of 2017 because of changes to U.S. tax rules.

BP estimates it will have to write off about $1.5 billion in credits that it had been planning to use to lower its tax bill in the future.

Major European banks Barclays, Credit Suisse and UBS, plus oil giant Shell, also indicated late last year that the new tax rules could cost them between $1 billion and $3 billion each in one-off charges.

Goldman Sachs forecast last week that changes to American tax rules would knock $5 billion off its profit in the final quarter of 2017. Most of this hit was due to a new so-called "repatriation tax," a one-time tax on the cash it hold overseas.

Nevertheless, all the companies said that the lower U.S. corporate tax rate -- down to 21% from 35% -- would ultimately be good for business.

3. Market movers -- Oil, U.S. dollar: Crude oil futures are pushing up to hit their highest levels since mid-2015. Oil prices have surpassed $60.50 per barrel in early trading.

"Crude oil prices have rallied to fresh two-and-a-half year highs as political tensions in OPEC member Iran have boosted prices overnight," explained analysts at Accendo Markets.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been trying to downplay the significance of sometimes violent protests across his country. At least 12 people are dead amidst the biggest challenge to the Tehran regime since mass demonstrations in 2009.

In currency markets, the U.S. dollar continues to weaken. The U.S. dollar index -- which tracks the value of the greenback versus a collection of other major global currencies -- is down by more than 3% in the last two months. The dollar is particularly weak right now versus the Mexican peso.

Download CNN MoneyStream for up-to-the-minute market data and news

4. Coming this week:
Wednesday -- Rite Aid earnings, Automakers report December sales numbers
Thursday --
Walgreens and Monsanto earnings
Friday -- U.S. December jobs report

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 60101

Reported Deaths: 1689
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Hennepin19057831
Ramsey7444265
Dakota4334104
Anoka3618114
Stearns288620
Washington207744
Nobles17626
Olmsted171823
Scott153218
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Clay77940
Sherburne7188
Kandiyohi6891
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Lyon4263
Todd4242
Freeborn3591
Steele3451
Nicollet33313
Benton3203
Watonwan3080
Winona25916
Crow Wing23214
Beltrami2230
Le Sueur2171
Martin2075
Chisago1991
Otter Tail1933
Goodhue1929
Cottonwood1770
McLeod1730
Pipestone1559
Becker1521
Polk1504
Waseca1480
Douglas1391
Itasca13812
Unassigned13741
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Murray1221
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Wadena260
Red Lake240
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Lac qui Parle70
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Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 48398

Reported Deaths: 925
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10223207
Woodbury371652
Black Hawk311566
Linn234887
Johnson206719
Dallas187835
Buena Vista179112
Scott171614
Dubuque166531
Marshall143826
Pottawattamie131426
Story116014
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Muscatine84648
Webster8017
Crawford7273
Sioux6253
Cerro Gordo60917
Warren5571
Tama54929
Jasper47626
Wright4651
Plymouth4579
Dickinson3804
Clinton3793
Louisa37814
Washington29810
Boone2553
Hamilton2461
Franklin23910
Bremer2247
Clarke1993
Emmet1914
Carroll1881
Clay1861
Shelby1831
Hardin1780
Des Moines1692
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Benton1551
Allamakee1544
Floyd1532
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Guthrie1315
Jones1302
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Hancock1222
Butler1212
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Madison1182
Pocahontas1152
Lee1133
Lyon1132
Delaware1111
Cherokee1081
Humboldt1081
Harrison1060
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Taylor980
Iowa971
Winneshiek951
Page940
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