Dow near 26,000; BP losses; U.S. dollar weakness

1. Dow 26,000: U.S. markets appear to be headed for a strong open on Tuesday.

U.S. stock futures were pointing higher as investors returned from the holiday weekend. The Dow Jones industrial average, which closed just above 25,800 on Friday, could blow past the 26,000 point barrier in early trading.

It’s already a record-setting day on global markets. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng surged 1.8% to hit an all-time high.

The index has soared by 40% over the past year thanks to strong performances by tech giant Tencent and the Chinese economy.

Tokyo’s Nikkei rallied by 1%.

In Europe, markets were more mixed.

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2. Stocks to watch — BP, Viacom, CBS: Shares in BP (BP) slipped 1.5% in London after the oil giant said it would book $1.7 billion in new charges in 2017 related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Shares in Viacom (VIA) and CBS (CBS) could be on the move again after surging on Friday. News reports suggest that the media companies could be reunited once again.

3. U.S. dollar weakens: The U.S. dollar slipped 0.4% on Tuesday.

The U.S. dollar index — which tracks the greenback versus a range of other currencies — has shed about 2.5% this year. The currency is trading near a three-year low following a 10% decline in 2017.

Some analysts suggest that political dysfunction in the U.S. is pushing the dollar down, with investors preferring to put their money into the euro as the European economy improves.

4. Budget deadline looms: The latest short-term U.S. government spending measure is set to expire on Friday.

Republican leaders will need to pass another extension before the deadline in order to keep the government running.

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5. Coming this week: Tuesday — Citigroup (C) and UnitedHealth (UNH) earnings Wednesday — Bank of America (BAC) and Goldman Sachs (GS) earnings; Tiffany (TIF) reports holiday sales Thursday — Morgan Stanley (MS) and IBM (IBM) earnings Friday — January consumer sentiment report released by the University of Michigan

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