U.S. stocks open slightly higher

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USA stocks were set for a positive trading day on Tuesday, just a day after scoring records all around on rising expectations the highly anticipated tax bill will get its final signoff this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average.DJI rose 140.46 points, or 0.57 percent, to 24,792.2, the S&P 500.SPX gained 14.36 points, or 0.54 percent, to 2,690.17 and the Nasdaq Composite.IXIC added 58.18 points, or 0.84 percent, to 6,994.76. Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.9 percent to 29,311.37 and Seoul's Kospi lost 0.2 percent to 2,476.11. Taiwan fell, while benchmarks in New Zealand and Southeast Asia gained. The biggest gains have gone to companies that pay relatively higher tax rates, including smaller, US-focused companies, banks and retailers. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 0.5 percent to 2,690.16. And the tech-heavy Nasdaq topped 7-thousand points for the first time ever during the intraday session, putting it up almost one-percent, at 6,994.7. The House of Representatives was scheduled to vote Tuesday and the Senate on Wednesday. Most of the benefits go to businesses and the wealthy, which Republicans say would goose the economy and benefit all.

ANALYST TAKE: "While it may have taken longer to deliver than he expected, it would appear that Republicans determination to give Americans an early Christmas present has paid off, although there has been numerous debates about who actually stands to benefit most from the bill", said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

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Synder's-Lance was up about 7 per cent at $49.94 after Campbell Soup said it would buy the Pretzels and Cape Cod chips maker for $4.87 billion.

The dollar's weakening propelled gold higher as the dollar-denominated bullion became cheaper for buyers using other currencies.

Shares of General Motors Company (GM) added 1.5% after analysts at RBC Capital Market upgraded the stock to outperform from sector perform.

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Brent crude futures was down 2 cents at $63.39 per barrel, while US crude futures were 5 cents higher at $57.21.

U.S. crude oil futures settled at US$57.16 a barrel, down 14 cents or 0.24 per cent. Brent crude futures settled at US$63.41, up 18 cents or 0.28 per cent. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, added 7 cents to $63.48 in London.

The euro was steady at $1.1785 after rising 0.3 percent the previous day.

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