Global markets mostly higher amid trade optimism

Business

Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. Asian stocks followed Wall Street higher on Friday amid optimism U.S.-Chinese trade relations are improving. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

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BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets moved mostly higher on Friday amid optimism that U.S.-Chinese trade relations are improving and on early reports that online Christmas shopping was up over last year in the U.S.

European markets rose in midday trading and Wall Street was primed for more gains after reaching new highs yet again on Thursday. Hong Kong finished with gains and Tokyo declined.

Investors welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump’s comment that an interim “Phase 1” trade deal with China was “getting done.” Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would hold a signing ceremony.

Traders still are waiting to see details of the agreement aimed at helping to settle a 17-month-old trade war between the two countries.

Chinese customs data this week showed November soybean imports rose in a possible boost to American farmers. Midwestern farm states were battered by Beijing’s earlier suspension of purchases of U.S. soybeans, the biggest Chinese import from the United States, in response to Trump’s tariff hikes on goods from China.

“Broadly risk sentiment is positive,” Mizuho Bank said in a report.

In midday trading, Frankfurt’s DAX rose 0.5% to 13,375 and France’s CAC 40 also gained 0.5% to 6,058. London’s FTSE turned around after early losses and was up 0.3% to 7,656.

On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.3%.

On Thursday, both reached new highs. The S&P 500 rose 0.5% and the Dow gained 0.4%. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.8%.

Investors welcomed a report by Mastercard SpendingPulse that showed U.S. online Christmas shopping rose 18.8% over a year earlier.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index was off 2 points at 3,005.04 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.4% to 23,837.72. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 1.2% to 28,202.10 and Seoul’s Kospi added 0.3% to 2,204.21.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.4% to 6,821.70 and India’s Sensex advanced 0.8% to 41,507.97.

Benchmarks in Taiwan and Singapore advanced while New Zealand declined.

Also Friday, Japan’s government reported factory output fell 0.9% in November compared with the previous month. Japanese retail sales rose 4.5% over a month earlier but inventory levels were high.

Despite optimism about U.S.-Chinese trade, traders still are concerned about bigger unresolved disputes.

The coming year also has the added complication of the U.S. presidential election.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 15 cents to $61.83 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 9 cents to $66.85 per barrel in London.

CURRENCY: The dollar weakened to 109.50 yen from Thursday’s 109.57 yen. The euro rose to $1.1152 from $1.1100.

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