Friday, May 7

World stocks boosted by trade hopes, tech, and Turkey

LONDON (Reuters) – World stocks hit their highest levels in over a week on Friday as expectations grew that the United States and China would open new trade talks, while an interest rate hike in Turkey supported the lira and global risk appetite.

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, September 13, 2018. REUTERS/Staff

The MSCI All-Country World index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up 0.4 percent on the day by afternoon trade in Europe. It had earlier risen as much as half a percent on the day, touching its highest since September 4.

Led by technology and auto stocks, the pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.2 percent, set for its best weekly gains in seven weeks.

Tech stocks rose 0.4 percent after Apple gained on Wall Street following Europe’s close on Thursday [.EU]. Wall Street was set to open higher on Friday, futures indicated. [.N]

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 1.2 percent. Australian shares were up 0.6 percent, Seoul’s Kospi rose 1.4 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei stock index was 1.2 percent higher.

Chinese shares fell, despite a short-lived bump from data that showed forecast-topping industrial output and retail sales data for August.

Other data showed real estate investment in the country fell in August, raising concern that a cooling property market could increase risks for China’s economic outlook as the trade environment worsens.

China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite index was down 0.2 percent and the blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.2 percent.

Chinese officials welcomed an invitation from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to new talks. But President Donald Trump tempered market expectations, tweeting on Thursday that Washington is “under no pressure to make a deal with China”.

The Trump administration is readying a final list of $200 billion worth of Chinese imports that it plans to levy tariffs on in coming days. That move would mark an escalation in the trade war and could significantly slow global growth.

“While the potential for a trade deal in the near-term remains low, a resumption of dialogue could lift sentiment and support markets, in our view,” analysts at Credit Suisse wrote in a note to clients.

On Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the current world trade system was not perfect and Beijing supported reforms to it, including to the World Trade Organisation, to make it fairer and more effective .

Uncertainty around the global outlook for trade was highlighted by the European Central Bank, which on Thursday kept policy unchanged as expected and warned that risks from protectionism were growing.

FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian walks past an electronic board showing the graph of the recent fluctuations of Japan’s Nikkei average outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/File Photo


A sharp interest rate increase by Turkey’s central bank to support a tumbling lira boosted risk appetite in emerging markets. The bank hiked its benchmark interest rate by 625 basis points, to 24 percent.

Currency crises in both Turkey and Argentina have stoked fears of contagion over the past several weeks, hammering emerging market assets from Indonesia to India to South Africa.

After rising as high as 6.1442 to the dollar, the lira eased to 6.1025 on Friday.

Turkish lira implied volatility gauges fell to their lowest levels in more than a month, as sentiment continued to improve.

“The bold decision (by Turkey’s central bank) reduces the risk that a full-scale financial crisis may unfold,” wrote analysts at Rabobank in a note to clients.

“That said, it’s only the first step and we remain of the view that a rate hike on its own may not prove sufficient to lead to a sustainable recovery in the lira. The central bank’s efforts must be accompanied by an implementation of constructive macro prudential policies by the administration.”

The euro hit a two-week high, extending Thursday’s gains, after comments from ECB President Mario Draghi that focused on healthy domestic fundamentals, including rapid growth in employment and a rise in wages [FRX/].

The pound reached a six-week high of $1.3139, up 0.3 percent and set for its second biggest weekly rise of 2018. [GBP/]

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney told ministers Britain’s property market could crash and mortgage rates spiral up if there was a chaotic no-deal Brexit, the Times newspaper reported.

The dollar eased 0.1 percent against the yen to 111.89.

U.S. crude was 0.4 percent higher at $68.82 a barrel as Hurricane Florence approached the U.S. east coast. Brent crude rose 0.1 percent to $78.23 per barrel. [O/R]

Spot gold gained nearly half a percent to $1205.36 per ounce. [GOL/]

Graphic: Emerging market currencies battered –

Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho, additional reporting by Saikat Chatterjee in London; editing by Larry King and Andrew Roche

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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