Stocks rally on preliminary U.S.-China trade deal, oil rises

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Dec
17

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Global stock markets rallied on Monday, pushing Wall Street’s three major indexes and a global gauge of equity performance to record highs after a preliminary U.S.-China trade deal pointed to stronger world growth, helping to lift oil prices.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index also hit a record high and the landslide election victory last week by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson drove the benchmark FTSE 100 to its biggest single-day gain in almost a year.

Chinese stocks rose to a six-week closing high as investors cheered the trade deal and growth in China’s industrial and retail sectors beat expectations in November.

China remained cautious ahead of signing the agreement after months of at-times testy negotiations.

Gold held steady and the dollar eased as investors sought clarity on the deal’s fine print.

“It’s good news but we can’t celebrate yet,” said Mark Mobius, founding partner of Mobius Capital Partners and former executive chairman of the Templeton Emerging Markets Group. Mobius has spent four decades scouring emerging markets for investments.

The “phase one” deal will double U.S. exports to China and has been “absolutely completed,” Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, told Fox News Channel.

The deal suspended a threatened round of U.S. tariffs on $156 billion of Chinese exports that was scheduled to take effect on Sunday. The United States also agreed to halve the tariff rate, to 7.5%, on $120 billion worth of Chinese goods.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.70% and the pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 1.39 to hit record highs.

The three major U.S. stock indices posted record closing highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 100.51 points, or 0.36%, to 28,235.89. The SP 500 gained 22.65 points, or 0.71%, to 3,191.45 and the Nasdaq Composite added 79.35 points, or 0.91%, to 8,814.23.

Apple Inc, among the biggest companies to benefit from the deal, rose 1.71%. Chipmakers that make the components for its iPhones also gained, up 0.96%.

For much of 2019, investors have fretted over fears of a global recession, in good part driven by the prolonged U.S.-China trade dispute, said Candice Bangsund, a portfolio manager of global asset allocation at Fiera Capital in Montreal.

Equities are poised for further upside because of receding trade headwinds and reflationary efforts by the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan, she said.

“From a ‘what’s priced-in standpoint,’ it’s reduced uncertainty. What’s not priced in, though, is the impact it’s going to have on the global economy,” Bangsund said.

Britain’s FTSE 100 surged 2.25% in the largest single-day gain since late December 2018, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 index jumped 1.9% to hit an all-time high.

Domestically focused stocks benefited from the British election euphoria, with banking heavyweights Lloyds, Barclays and RBS jumping between 3.7% and 5.5%.

Oil prices edged higher on hopes energy demand will increase because of the U.S.-China trade deal, but prices remained below Friday’s three-month highs.

Brent crude oil futures settled up 12 cents to $65.34 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude gained 14 cents to settle at $60.21 a barrel.

Caution over the future path of trade talks weighed on the dollar.

The dollar index fell 0.12%, with the euro up 0.21% to $1.1142. The Japanese yen weakened 0.24% versus the greenback at 109.60 per dollar.

U.S. Treasury yields rose as traders took an optimistic view of the preliminary U.S.-China trade deal and its impact on growth.

Benchmark 10-year notes fell 16/32 in price to yield 1.8766%.

U.S. gold futures settled mostly unchanged at $1,480.50 an ounce.

GRAPHIC: Global assets in 2019 – here

GRAPHIC: World FX rates in 2019 – here

GRAPHIC: MSCI All Country World Index Market Cap – here

Reporting by Herbert Lash; additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho in London; Editing by Dan Grebler and Nick Zieminski

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