World stocks climb on hopes for progress in trade; sterling edges up

People walk through the lobby of the London Stock Exchange in London December 3, 2015. ― Reuters pic
People walk through the lobby of the London Stock Exchange in London December 3, 2015. ― Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Oct 21 — Shares on world stock indexes mostly rose today, as hopes for resolving the US-China trade war pushed investors toward riskier assets, while the pound was near a 5-1/2-month high.

The British parliament’s speaker refused to allow a vote on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit divorce deal, suggesting Johnson faces further problems in the Brexit ratification.

Johnson was hit in parliament on Saturday by opponents who demanded a change to the sequencing of the ratification of the deal, exposing the prime minister to a law that forced him to request a delay until January 31.

MSCI’s world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, gained 0.6 per cent. The Euro STOXX 600 added 0.7 per cent, while the S&P 500 index was up 0.5 per cent.

Investors in Asia earlier were boosted by comments on Friday by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He that Beijing will collaborate with the United States to address mutual concerns on the trade war.

US President Donald Trump had also struck an optimistic tone on Friday, saying he thought a trade deal would be signed before an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Chile next month.

“Any kind of positive development on trade just gets people a little excited, although it is too optimistic to believe that they will reach a whole trade deal as early as mid-November,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

The 2020 US presidential election was also influencing the talks, investors said, with Trump looking to avoid the possibility of tariffs imposed by China hurting his voters.

Stocks investors are also gearing up for high-profile earnings reports this week from such companies as Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 23 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 26,793.2, the S&P 500 gained 15.29 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 3,001.49 and the Nasdaq Composite added 60.40 points, or 0.75 per cent, to 8,149.95.

The dollar was heading toward its worst month since January 2018 amid sterling’s gain.

Against the dollar, sterling was last up 0.1 per cent in North American trade, having earlier broken above US$1.30 (RM5.44) for the first time in 5-1/2 months. The euro was 0.18 per cent higher against the dollar, having also been lifted by Brexit optimism this month by 2.23 per cent.

In the US bond market, benchmark 10-year notes last fell 11/32 in price to yield 1.787 per cent, from 1.75 per cent late on Friday.

In commodities, US crude fell 1.1 per cent to US$53.19 per barrel and Brent was last at US$58.60, down 1.38 per cent on the day.  — Reuters

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