BANGKOK (AP) — Stock markets charged ahead Friday after President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, spoke by phone and reported progress in resolving trade tensions. Investors are looking ahead to U.S. jobs figures due later in the day.
KEEPING SCORE: The CAC 40 in France jumped 1.3 percent to 5,150 and Germany’s DAX advanced 1.5 percent to 11,637. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.7 percent to 7,168. Futures augured a strong start on Wall Street, with the Dow future contract up 0.9 percent and that for the S&P 500 up 0.7 percent.
ASIA’S DAY: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rallied 4.2 percent to 26,486.35 and the Shanghai Composite index added 2.7 percent to 2,676.48. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index surged 2.6 percent to 22,243.66 while South Korea’s Kospi climbed 3.5 percent to 2,096.00. The S&P ASX/200 in Australia erased early losses to end up 0.1 percent at 5,849.20. Shares also rose in Taiwan, India and Southeast Asia.
CHINA-US TRADE: U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that he spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping and that the two countries were making some progress in trade negotiations. He didn’t give details, but there have been few signs of movement in the trade dispute in recent months, and investors are getting nervous about the prospect of huge tariff increases. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman told reporters the discussion was quite positive and that the two leaders were optimistic about resolving the dispute over technology that has resulted in both sides imposing penalty tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s exports. Meanwhile, Chinese state media said Xi has promised tax cuts and other help to China’s entrepreneurs in a renewed effort to revive the cooling, state-dominated economy.
US JOBS: The momentum in the markets will likely depend on the U.S. jobs report, which is expected to show a healthy net increase of 190,000 workers to the economy. That would be just short of this year’s monthly average increase of 208,000 and leave the Federal Reserve on track to keep raising interest rates. It’s an open question whether the figures could influence voting in the U.S. midterm election next week, as polls suggest that while many Americans approve of the economy’s direction, that has not translated into greater support for Trump or Republican congressional candidates.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.85 yen from 112.71 yen, while the euro gained to $1.1450 from $1.1408. The British pound was up to $1.3028 from $1.3004 amid hopes for progress in the Brexit talks.
ENERGY: Oil prices continued to weaken after the Department of Energy said U.S. crude stockpiles increased for the sixth straight week. Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 3 cents to $63.66 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It slumped 2.5 percent to $63.69 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 25 cents to $73.14 per barrel. It shed 2.9 percent Thursday to $72.89 a barrel in London.
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