LONDON: Europe’s main stock markets found higher ground Monday in subdued deals, with many investors away for the Easter holiday break.
London won 0.1 percent approaching midday, while Frankfurt gained 0.3 percent and Paris added 0.2 percent heading into the afternoon.
The European single currency meanwhile bobbed back above $1.31.
“European equity markets are subdued … on the back of a strong finish on Friday,” said analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK.
“It seems likes investors are taking a breather, and the lack of volatility in Asia overnight prompted some dealers to sit on their hands.”
The sentiment was partly supported by comments from US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said he was “hopeful we’re getting close to the final round of concluding issues” in trade talks with China.
The remarks were picked up as another positive sign that the trade war between the world’s top two economies, which helped hammer global markets last year, could be nearing an end.
“Steven Mnuchin issued a positive statement about US-China trade talks over the weekend, and he claimed the negotiations are ‘close to the final round’ — and that is adding to the global feel-good factor, Madden added.
Investors set aside last week’s concerns about a possible new trade war between the US and the European Union after President Donald Trump threatened to hit the bloc with tariffs over subsidies to aviation giant Airbus.
They were given a boost on Monday when the EU member countries gave the final green light to begin new trade talks with the US.
Stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic had pushed higher on Friday after two major US banks JP Morgan and Wells Fargo reported earnings ahead of analysts’ expectations.
Asia traded mixed on Monday, though investors remain upbeat thanks to a healthy start to the US earnings season and hopes for China-US trade talks.
Dealers noted that, for once, Brexit was not hogging the headlines this week due to Britain’s parliament being shut for the Easter holiday until April 23.
Britain’s Conservative government will resume talks with the main opposition Labour party next week on how to resolve the deadlock over Brexit, a senior minister said Sunday.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s effective deputy, David Lidington, said they wanted to be able to “take stock” of any progress when parliament returns.
“With House of Commons in recess for the Easter break, the coming week is unlikely to be dominated by Brexit, thankfully, to the same extent as weeks gone by — with the focus for the UK markets shifting to a series of economic releases,” said XTB analyst David Cheetham.
British employment data is due Tuesday, followed by inflation numbers on Wednesday and retail sales figures on Thursday.
Elsewhere, traders raced out of the blocks, boosted by data last week showing a sharp jump in credit growth in China as easing measures kick in, while exports beat expectations and inflation perked up.
New York’s three main indexes provided a positive lead after JP Morgan recorded a pick-up in profits, suggesting the economy remains in rude health and fuelling optimism for upcoming corporate reports.
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,446.19 points
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.3 percent at 12,029.42
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 5,515
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,455.11
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3106 from $1.3074 at 2100 GMT on Friday
Euro/pound: DOWN at 86.31 pence from 86.40 pence
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1312 from $1.1299
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111.95 yen from 112.02 yen
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.4 percent at 22,169.11 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.3 percent at 29,810.72 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,177.79 (close)
New York – Dow: UP 1.0 percent at 26,412.30 (close)
Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN 60 cents at $70.95 per barrel
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 56 cents at $63.33
Bears growl at Hong Kong bourse
HONG KONG: Shares fell more than one percent Tuesday, hit by concerns over rising Iran-US tensions and as investors await this week’s crucial trade talks between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.
The Hang Seng Index sank 1.15 percent, or 327.02 points, to 28,185.98. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.87 percent or 26.07 points,
to 2,982.07, while the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, lost 0.99 percent, or 15.63 points, to 1,560.46.
Oil prices rise on US-Iran concern, stocks up ahead of G20 talks
HONG KONG: Oil prices extended gains Monday as rising US-Iran tensions fuelled supply concerns, while Asian equities also edged up ahead of a crunch meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping this week.
Both main crude contracts are up almost 10 percent since Tehran last week shot down a US “spy drone” for breaching its airspace, ratcheting up fears of a conflict between the old foes.
At the weekend Trump said he would impose fresh sanctions on Iran, following bans of countries buying its oil, while US media reports said Washington secretly launched cyber-attacks against missile control systems and a spy network.
Both sides say they want to avoid war, but tensions have spiralled as a series of incidents, including the drone downing and recent attacks on tankers, raised fears of an unintended slide towards conflict.
The US president said he was ready to reach out to Iran if it renounced nuclear weapons, adding that if leaders did so “I’m going to be their best friend”. But Iran continues to insist its atomic programme is for civilian purposes.
Brent rose 0.3 percent Monday and WTI was 0.5 percent higher.
“The geopolitical escalation in the Middle East is unquestionably a bullish short-term signal for oil markets, as even the thought of 20 percent of the world oil supply being affected is enough to trigger significant tremors,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at Vanguard Markets.
“And these tremors are noticeably moving up the Richter scale.”
The stand-off, coupled with a weak dollar as the Federal Reserve flags an interest rate cut, has helped push gold prices to six-year highs above $1,400 as dealers look for a safe haven to park their cash.
Qatar Emir announces $3 billion for Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has announced $3 billion fro Pakistan in deposits and direct investments from Qatar.
It follows Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledging aid packages for Pakistan. Riyadh has given a $3 billion loan to Pakistan whereas UAE provided $1 billion.
The south Asian country and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had reached an agreement in May on a loan of about $6 billion to overcome economic crisis.
Pakistan and Qatar ink MoUs
Pakistan and Qatar on Saturday signed three different memorandums of understanding (MOUs) to further enhance the mutual cooperation in areas of trade, business, tourism, and investment.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Amir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani witnessed the signing ceremony held here at the Prime Minister House.
The memorandum of understanding on the establishment of Pakistan and Qatar Joint Working Group (JWG) on trade and investment was signed by Finance Minister of State of Qatar Ali Shareef Al Emadi and Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood.
Secretary-General of Qatar National Tourism Council Akbar Al Baker and Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Dr. Fehmida Mirza signed the MoU for cooperation in the field of tourism and business events between Qatar and Pakistan.
Another MoU on the establishment of cooperation in the field of exchange of financial intelligence related to money laundering associated predicate offenses and terrorism financing between the Financial Information Unit of State of Qatar and the Financial Monitoring Unit of the Government of Pakistan was signed by Sheikh Ahmed bin Eid Al Thani, Head of Qatar Financial Information Unit and Muneer Ahmad Acting Director General Financial Monitoring Unit.
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