Hopes of US-China trade breakthrough lift global stocks


LONDON (AP) — Share prices around the world surged further Wednesday amid hopes the U.S. and China are on course to resolve their trade dispute following three days of discussions in Beijing.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX added 1.1 percent to 10,919 while the CAC 40 in France climbed 1.2 percent to 4,832. Britain’s FTSE 100 jumped 1.1 percent to 6,935. Wall Street looked set for more gains, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent.

CHINA-US TRADE: This week’s buoyancy in stock markets has been largely due to rising hopes of a resolution between the U.S. and China over their trade dispute. After three days of discussion, President Donald Trump tweeted that the talks had been “going very well!” a potential positive sign even though no major developments had been announced. Experts say it may take months to resolve the causes of the trade war, which include disagreements over Beijing’s handling of technology and intellectual property.

ANALYST TAKE: “The length and intensity of these talks seem to portray a new, more resolute approach from both sides which raises hopes that there could finally be some light at the end of the tunnel,” said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG. “It is unlikely that this week will see any complete resolution to the differences between both sides, yet some form of progress on the trade side of things would no doubt provide a further boost for depressed markets.”

FED MINUTES: Minutes to the last meeting of the Federal Reserve, at which interest rates were raised again, will be of interest later in the session. At the December meeting, the Fed’s rate-setting panel reduced its forecasts for the number of hikes this year from three to two. Markets have gone further following recent comments from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. Many now think the Fed will stand pat for the rest of this year amid waning economic growth and the slide in U.S. stocks.

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ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 1.1 percent to 20,427.06 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 2.3 percent to 26,462.32. The Shanghai Composite index surged 1.0 percent to 2,544.34 while South Korea’s Kospi advanced 2.0 percent to 2,064.71.

ENERGY: Oil prices also continued to rally. U.S. crude rose $1.05 to $50.83 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added $1.06 to $59.78 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro was up 0.1 percent at $1.1456 while the dollar rose 0.1 percent to 108.91 yen.

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