Tokyo street. Photo: Getty Images

Washington, US (BBN) – Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, November 16:

Investors kept an eye on US tax reform developments ahead of a vote in Congress expected this morning.
House Republicans are set to pass a sweeping rewrite of the tax code when they vote today, bringing President Donald Trump and the Republican party closer to their first major legislative win, reports

The final passage vote is expected soon after Trump speaks with a full conference of House Republicans at an 11:30AM ET (1630GMT) closed-door meeting in Washington.

Besides the tax vote, investors looked ahead to a raft of U.S. economic data and a clutch of Federal Reserve speakers to gauge how it will impact the U.S. central bank’s view on monetary policy in the months ahead.

Thursday’s calendar includes data on weekly jobless claims, import prices and the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey all at 8:30AM ET (1330GMT). There is also industrial production data at 9:15AM ET (1415GMT).
On the Fed front, comments from Cleveland Fed chief Loretta Mester, Governor Lael Brainard, Dallas Fed boss Robert Kaplan and San Francisco President John Williams will also be on the agenda.
The dollar edged up as investors priced in more U.S. rate hikes after upbeat inflation and retail sales data on Wednesday.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was a shade higher at 93.82 in early deals, bouncing off a low of 93.31 on Wednesday, its weakest level since Oct. 26.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney will be joined by his colleagues Ben Broadbent, Jon Cunliffe, and David Ramsden in Liverpool, where they will speak about economics at various public schools in the city, as part of the 2017 Bank of England Future Forum.
Broadbent struck a fairly hawkish tone during his speech on Wednesday, raising hopes that the British central bank could hike interest rates on at least one occasion in 2018.
Data released earlier showed that UK retail sales fell for the first time since March 2013 in the 12 months to October, but the figures were still stronger than economists had forecast.
The pound was slightly higher against the dollar, with GBP/USD rising around 0.2% to 1.3195.
Global stock markets regained ground, as this week’s risk-off mood eased.
Asian-Pacific markets shrugged off a lackluster start to end mostly higher. Among notable standouts, Japan’s Nikkei reversed early losses and surged 1.5% as investors hunted for bargains after a six-day losing streak.
In Europe, the region’s bourses were on track to break their longest losing streak in a year, as the cyclicals sectors which had driven a market-wide sell-off made a comeback.
On Wall Street, U.S. stocks pointed to a stronger open, as investors looked to key earnings reports to set the tone for the markets. U.S. stocks closed lower for the fourth session in a row on Wednesday.
Results from the likes of retailers such as Walmart (NYSE:WMT), Best Buy, Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROST) and Gap are on the radar for Thursday.
Oil prices attempted to rebound from a four-day losing streak, as growing expectations that OPEC will extend an ongoing production cut agreement at a meeting at the end of this month offset concern over rising U.S. crude stockpiles and output.
U.S. crude futures inched up 6 cents to $55.39 a barrel, while Brent tacked on 4 cents to $61.91.
This week’s price drop means that crude futures are down by around 5% since reaching 28-month highs last week, ending an impressive 40% rally between June and early November.