Global stocks advance to end first half as G20 in focus

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt. ― Reuters pic
The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt. ― Reuters pic

NEW YORK, June 29 ― A gauge of global stocks climbed yesterday in advance of a meeting on trade between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, as global equities notched their best first half since 1997.

Trump and Xi will meet during a Group of 20 summit this weekend in Osaka, Japan, for talks that could help resolve a yearlong trade war between China and the United States, as signs of its dampening effect on global growth have become more prevalent.

“Everybody's anticipating a positive meeting between Trump and President Xi,” said Denis (Sandy) Villere, portfolio manager at Villere & Co in New Orleans.

“It's priced in as if it’s a foregone conclusion. It's making us a little nervous that the market's already baked in all that good news.”

Economic data yesterday showed US consumer spending increased moderately in May and prices rose slightly, pointing to slowing economic growth and benign inflation pressures, which could give the Federal Reserve enough leeway to cut interest rates in July.

Wall Street rose, buoyed by financial shares in following the results of the US Federal Reserve's “stress tests,” although each of the major indexes snapped a three-week winning streak. The S&P 500 had its best June performance since 1955 while the Dow marked its best June since 1938.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 72.84 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 26,599.42, the S&P 500 gained 16.53 points, or 0.57 per cent, to 2,941.45 and the Nasdaq Composite added 38.49 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 8,006.24.

Banking shares also helped European indexes move higher ahead of the meeting, with Germany's DAX leading the way with a gain of more than 1 per cent thanks to gains in Deutsche Bank AG.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.70 per cent to notch its best first half since 1998 and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.44 per cent.

MSCI's index scored its best month since January, gaining more than 6 per cent in June as equities rallied after major central banks around the globe pivoted toward easier monetary policy stances.

That shift came as trade negotiations between the United States and China broke down earlier this year. Now markets are betting that an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve of at least a quarter of a percentage point is a virtual certainty as early as the next policy meeting in July, according to CME's FedWatch tool.

On Thursday, China's central bank pledged to support a slowing economy, before the release of data that is expected to show China's factory activity slowed for a second consecutive month in June.

The dollar index fell 0.01 per cent against a basket of major currencies and was set to turn in its weakest monthly performance since January 2018 as anticipation of a Fed rate cut has pushed the index down about 1.7 per cent this month. ― Reuters

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