Global stocks rose on Friday on optimism over trade talks between the United States and China and were set to post their best quarterly performance since 2012, while global bond yields moved higher after a prolonged slide on growth worries.
European markets opened higher, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index up 0.4 per cent. France’s CAC 40 index led gains, up 0.77 per cent, while Britain’s FTSE 100 index was up 0.6 per cent. Germany’s DAX rose 0.4 per cent.
The rises came on the back of strong gains in Asia, where Chinese shares climbed more than 3.1 per cent after US officials said China has made proposals in trade talks with the United States on a range of issues that go further than it has before, including on forced technology transfer.
US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday he had a ‘productive working dinner’ the previous night in Beijing, kicking off a day of talks aimed at resolving the bitter trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.
‘Our base case is for the current tariff truce extension to yield only a partial resolution, including select US tariff rollbacks in exchange for some Chinese concessions on imports, market access and intellectual property,’ strategists at UBS wrote in a note to clients.
S&P 500 E-mini futures were up by 0.16 per cent. Gains on Wall Street overnight also bolstered investor optimism.
Despite recent turbulence, the S&P 500 has gained 12.3 per cent so far this quarter, which would mark its best quarterly performance since 2009 if sustained.
MSCI’s All-Country World Index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up 0.17 per cent on the day. It was set to post its best quarterly performance since March 2012.
German and French government bond yields were poised on for their biggest monthly falls since June 2016, ending a month where heightened anxiety about global growth prospects have sparked a flood into fixed income globally.
Ten-year bond yields across the single currency bloc were marginally higher in early trade, reflecting the firmer tone in stock markets.
‘We have moved a lot in the last two weeks so there is a bit of pause for now,’ said Pooja Kumra, European rates strategist, TD Securities.
Analysts at UBS noted that pessimism in the bond market looked overdone, citing three reasons: economic growth is slowing and not stalling, central banks remain supportive of growth, and corporate earnings are stronger than they appear.
The 10-year US bond yield edged up to 2.406 per cent from a 15-month low of 2.352 per cent touched on Thursday after an almost relentless fall since the Federal Reserve’s dovish tone last week sparked worries about the US economic outlook.
Investors have been on heightened alert since the yield on the 10-year note fell below that of the three-month US Treasury paper last Friday, an inversion of the yield curve that is widely seen as an indicator of a recession.
Data on Thursday showed US economic growth was slower than initially thought in the fourth quarter, with GDP growth revised down to an annualised 2.2 per cent from an earlier reading of 2.6 per cent.
In currencies, the euro was higher by 0.1 per cent at $1.1226 though it was headed for its worst month since October, weighed down by fears about economic growth and cautious signals from the European Central Bank.
The single currency has also been weighed down by speculation the ECB will introduce a tiered deposit rate, providing a sign that policymakers plant to keep interest rates low for longer.
Against a basket of peers, the dollar was flat.
The Turkish lira dropped 1.7 per cent, a day after it had plunged 4 per cent. President Tayyip Erdogan blamed the currency’s weakness on attacks by the West ahead of nationwide local elections on Sunday.
The British pound dipped 0.1 per cent to $1.3025 after sliding more than 1 per cent the previous day.
Sterling had taken a knock as the prospect of a swift agreement on Brexit faded with the British parliament yet again failing to agree on a way forward.
Oil prices rose amid the ongoing OPEC-led supply cuts and US sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, putting crude markets on track for their biggest quarterly rise since 2009.
US crude futures traded at $59.76 per barrel, up 0.8 per cent on the day and recovering from Thursday’s low of $58.20.
Brent rose 0.4 per cent to $68.10 per barrel.
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