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FT Online

Published:
2019-02-23 12:51:10 BdST

Global equities climb on hopeful trade talk vibes


Boosterish claims of progress in US- China trade talks lifted global stocks on Friday, sending Wall Street to its longest winning streak in more than two decades.

Asian and European markets likewise were mostly higher, amid signals from
Chinese and American officials building expectations the two sides will
successfully resolve their seven-month trade war, which as knocked equities
prices sideways for much of the last year.

In Washington, US President Donald Trump said the latest round of trade
talks had been extended by another two days as the two sides raced to strike
a bargain ahead of a March 1 deadline to avoid sharp increases in US duties
on Chinese goods — and he again said he might be willing to push back the
deadline.

“I think there is a very, very good chance that a deal can be made,” Trump
told reporters at the White House.

In New York, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher,
marking its ninth straight weekly gain — the longest such streak since May
1995.

Despite the Dow’s advance since December — when the Federal Reserve all
but announced a halt to its interest rate hikes — the benchmark index is
still below where it was in mid-January of last year.

“Markets are responding to what seems like meaningful progress on the
trade dispute between us and China and given the president remarks this
afternoon it looks like a deal is very close,” Alan Skrainka of Cornerstone
Wealth Management told AFP.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) forecast that the two sides would
make “some progress” — but were unlikely to clinch any “meaningful” deal.

“The likelihood that the US and China will make some progress in the
ongoing trade talks has increased as a result of mounting domestic pressure
in both economies,” noted EIU global economist Cailin Birch in a report.

“Nonetheless, we do not expect a meaningful agreement, as the US and China
enter into a strategic competition for economic — and particularly
technological — dominance.”

The EIU added that any deal would therefore only provide “temporary
relief” from trade tensions.

Shares exposed to trade with China rose: Boeing, which depends on the
Asian giant for much of its aircraft sales, jumped 12.6 percent but
construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar fell 0.1 percent.

Details remained scant about any concrete progress in the trade war, which
has prompted stark warnings about the risks to the world economy, although
Trump said there was a deal on currency manipulation.

Meanwhile, Kraft Heinz nosedived 27.4 percent, a day after reporting a
quarterly loss, a $15 billion write-down and disclosing that US securities
regulators were investigating the company’s procurement procedures.

Europe’s key equity markets were modestly higher at the close, building on
earlier Asian gains.

– Key figures around 2130 GMT –

New York – Dow: UP 0.7 percent at 26,031.81 (close)

New York – S&P 500: UP 0.6 percent at 2,792.67 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.9 percent at 7,527.54 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,178.60 points (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.3 percent at 11,457.70 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 5,215.85 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,270.55 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.2 percent at 21,425.51 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.7 percent at 28,816.30 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.9 percent at 2,804.23 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1332 from $1.1336 at 2200 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3053 from $1.3043

Euro/pound: DOWN at 86.81 pence from 86.92 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 110.75 yen from 110.70

Oil – Brent Crude: UP 5 cents at $67.12 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 30 cents at $57.26

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