Stocks headed for longest winning streak in over a year

Passers-by are reflected on a panel displaying the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong, August 25, 2015. — Reuters pic
Passers-by are reflected on a panel displaying the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong, August 25, 2015. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, April 5 — Hopes for progress in US-Sino trade talks helped emerging-market stocks edge higher for a seventh straight session, its longest winning streak since January last year.

MSCI’s index of emerging market stocks rose 0.1 per cent. Volumes were low with Chinese markets closed for a holiday. Focus now turns to US payroll data due later in the day as the next gauge of economic growth.

Today’s rise came after US President Donald Trump said a trade deal with China might be announced in about four weeks and the Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, reported that President Xi Jinping said progress was being made and called for an early conclusion of trade negotiations.

Stocks gained across much of Asia. Turkish shares rose 0.4 per cent, its sixth day of gains out of seven. Russian shares looked set for a seventh straight session of gains and weekly gains of about 1.7 per cent, their best in three months. South African shares were set to rise for a fourth straight week.

A tepid dollar lent some support to emerging-market currencies. South Africa’s rand gained 0.2 per cent despite a decline in the central bank’s net foreign-exchange reserves and Russia’s rouble edged up, with both currencies on track for weekly gains.

However, Turkey’s lira weakened and is headed for a 0.5 per cent weekly decline as markets await the outcome of a vote recount in Istanbul, where the main opposition candidate said he remained ahead by nearly 19,000 votes.

The lira has been under pressure from declining economic indicators, rising tensions with the United States and uncertainty around local elections. Fears are growing that last year’s 30 per cent slide of nearly 30 per cent will be repeated.

“European investors are concerned about economic and financial market distress in Turkey. While not a part of EU, Turkey is a major trading partner of many European economies, and the demand destruction there in the past year has been felt acutely by the regional exporters,” said economists at DBS Economics & Strategy.

A Reuters poll showed that 2019 outlook for emerging-market currencies was mixed, despite the US Federal Reserve’s recent dovish stance. — Reuters

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