Stock markets rise on hopes for easing of US-China trade dispute

London: Stock markets mostly across the world rose on Monday as investors on optimism that China and the United States will start working to resolve their trade dispute.

Wall Street ended last week with gains following a report that top officials from the world’s two biggest economies would hold talks to resolve a crisis that has seen them hit each other with tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods, and with more in the pipeline.

The report in the Wall Street Journal said the talks were aimed at easing the trade dispute before US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping hold a summit in November.

“Investors will be hoping that negotiations between China and the US can start to break the trade tariff deadlock or at the very least open the door to a summit between President Trump and President Xi, which might begin to ease the pressure,” noted Rebecca O’Keeffe, head of investment at Interactive Investor.

A possibility that the months-long row which has battered world markets could be brought to an end was enough to spur optimism on trading floors.

London was up 0.4 percent in afternoon trading, with Paris adding 0.7 percent and Frankfurt climbing 1.1 percent.

On Wall Street, the Dow rose 0.2 percent in the first minute of trading,

Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, pointed out that Beijing, which is struggling to support the economy while also addressing a debt mountain, may have had a “lightbulb moment” last week with the release of more weak data and a sharp drop in the troubled yuan.

Authorities in China appeared to be moving to support the yuan last week as it headed towards seven to the dollar, its weakest level since January 2017.

Some observers have suggested the central bank has been letting the yuan soften in recent weeks to offset the effects of any US tariffs, a claim China has denied.

Elsewhere Monday, the Turkish lira was hovering above six to the dollar, well off the record levels around seven seen last week but still facing pressure after Ankara and Washington traded fresh sanctions threats as the row over a detained American pastor drags on.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s on Friday downgraded Turkey’s sovereign debt for the second time in four months and warned of a recession in 2019.

“The worry over Turkey’s currency crisis eased slightly last week as the lira rebounded against the US dollar. But this isn’t the end of the problem,” said Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities.

Attention this week turns also to the annual central bankers’ symposium at Jackson Hole in Wyoming, which will be followed for clues on US interest rate plans among other issues.

– Key figures around 1330 GMT –

New York – Dow Jones: UP 0.2 percent at 25,729.64 points

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 7,587.34

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 1.1 percent at 12,340.78

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 5,380.53

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.7 percent at 3,395.53

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 22,199.00 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.4 percent at 27,598.02 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.1 percent at 2,698.47 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1429 from $1.1441 at 2100 GMT Friday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2768 from $1.2749

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.42 from 110.57 yen

Dollar/Turkish lira: UP at 6.19 lira from 6.03 lira

Oil – Brent Crude: UP 22 cents at $72.05 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP two cents at $65.93