* Wall Street climbs, Nasdaq tops 6,000 mark
* Oil edges up in choppy trade
* Markets await Trump tax announcement on Wednesday
(Updates with U.S. market close, oil settlement prices)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, April 25 Global stock markets rallied
for a second straight day on Tuesday, as solid U.S. earnings,
speculation about U.S. tax reform and reduced chances of a U.S.
government shutdown this weekend boosted investor optimism.
Wall Street gained as concerns about France's election waned
and investors cheered earnings from Dow components such as
McDonald's Corp, up 5.6 percent, and Caterpillar Inc
, up 7.9 percent. The Nasdaq Composite index closed above
the 6,000 mark for the first time.
"It’s earnings coming from the Dow companies, the largest of
the large, in particular Caterpillar, really driving on the
theme that U.S. corporate profitability is on track to really
provide some significant year-over-year earnings growth," said
Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory
Group, in New York.
"That in and of itself is a fantastic story."
Markets also built on the boost from the prior session in
the wake of the first round of the French election, with recent
opinion polls showing centrist Emmanuel Macron, who won with a
comfortable lead over far-right, anti-EU candidate Marine Le
Pen, winning a May 7 run-off vote.
Safe-haven assets such as gold and the Japanese yen
retreated, while the yield gap between French and German
short-term government bonds, a closely watched measure of
political risk in the euro zone, hit its lowest in almost three
Investor focus shifted to corporate earnings and U.S.
President Donald Trump's promise to announce "a big tax reform
and tax reduction" on Wednesday.
The threat of a U.S. government shutdown this weekend
appeared to recede on Tuesday after Trump backed away from a
demand that Congress include funding for his planned border wall
with Mexico in a spending bill.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump's plan will
include a sharp cut in the top tax rate on pass-through
businesses, including many small business partnerships and sole
proprietorships, to 15 percent from 39.6 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 232.23 points,
or 1.12 percent, to close at 20,996.12, the S&P 500
gained 14.46 points, or 0.61 percent, to 2,388.61 and the Nasdaq
Composite added 41.67 points, or 0.7 percent, to
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.21
percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe
gained 0.63 percent after touching a high of
French shares closed up 0.2 percent, after a 4.1
percent surge on Monday, their biggest daily gain since August
The euro added to Monday's gains against the dollar,
up 0.63 percent to $1.0935.
The Canadian dollar fell 0.6 percent to C$1.3583 per
U.S. dollar after the United States announced duties averaging
20 percent on Canadian softwood lumber imports.
The Japanese yen weakened 1.22 percent versus the greenback
at 111.10 per dollar.
Gold, also seen as a safe-haven asset, fell. Spot gold
dropped 0.9 percent to $1,263.47 an ounce. U.S. gold
futures fell 0.98 percent to $1,265.00 an ounce.
Oil prices edged up in volatile trading to snap a six-day
losing streak, ahead of U.S. crude inventory data forecast to
show a drawdown.
U.S. crude settled up 0.67 percent at $49.56 a
barrel and Brent settled up 0.97 percent at $52.10.
(Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Richard
Chang and James Dalgleish)