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US-China trade hopes lift stocks; oil at three-month high

US-China trade hopes lift stocks; oil at three-month high
February 22, 2019
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks rose in major markets on bets of progress in trade talks between the United States and China, while crude futures hit their highest in over three months, supported by ongoing supply cuts. US President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He were set to meet at the Oval Office later in the day in a sign negotiations are advancing. Main indexes on Wall Street rose as trade talk more than offset signs of slower growth in both earnings and the US economy, with the S&P 500 on track for a fourth consecutive week of gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 177.54 points, or 0.69 percent, to 26,028.17, the S&P 500 gained 16.62 points, or 0.60 percent, to 2,791.5 and the Nasdaq Composite added 61.04 points, or 0.82 percent, to 7,520.75. Shares in Asia were buoyed by a late rally in Chinese stocks, with the main blue-chip index of Chinese shares rising over 2 percent to a near seven-month high. Emerging market stocks were up 0.73 percent after touching the highest level since August. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.72 percent higher, while Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.18 percent. Trade talks and a growing number of policy U-turns by global central banks have propped up equities in recent weeks, although this week brought the first outflows from emerging market debt and equity funds since October 2018, Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategists said, citing EPFR data.
Oil prices rose, supported by OPEC’s ongoing supply cuts and hopes that Washington and Beijing may soon end their trade dispute. US crude rose 0.63 percent to $57.32 per barrel and Brent was last at $67.11, up 0.06 percent on the day. In currencies, the US dollar was little changed against a basket of peers. The dollar index fell 0.11 percent, with the euro up 0.09 percent to $1.1344. The Japanese yen strengthened 0.01 percent versus the greenback at 110.71 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.3061, up 0.09 percent on the day. The Australian dollar recovered a day after falling more than 1 percent after Reuters reported the Chinese port of Dalian had barred imports of Australian coal indefinitely. China said on Friday, however, that imports would continue, but customs has stepped up checks on foreign cargoes. Separate comments by Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe that a rate increase may be appropriate next year also helped to boost the Aussie dollar. The Aussie dollar was up 0.71 percent versus the greenback at 0.7139. Despite gains on risky assets, safe-haven US Treasuries also rose in price. Benchmark 10-year notes were up 10/32 in price to yield 2.6536 percent, from 2.688 percent late on Thursday. The 30-year bond last rose 22/32 in price to yield 3.0095 percent, from 3.045 percent late on Thursday. Spot gold added 0.6 percent to $1,330.45 an ounce. US gold futures gained 0.43 percent to $1,333.50 an ounce. Copper rose 1.39 percent to $6,469.00 a tonne.