Global stocks inspired by US rally, hopes for Chinese growth

Global stocks rose Friday, seemingly buoyed by high spirits on Wall Street, as new data suggested China’s economic slowdown may have stabilized and Washington and Beijing signed a trade deal.

European indexes were broadly higher, while markets in Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong closed with gains, after the U.S.’s S&P 500 hit a new high the day before. Tech shares in particular did well, with Google parent Alphabet passing $1 trillion in market value, joining Amazon, Apple and Microsoft in the $1 trillion club.

China’s economic growth of 6.1% last year was the lowest since 1990 but forecasters pointed to improved activity in December. They said Wednesday’s signing of a truce in the war over Beijing’s technology ambitions and trade surplus might help to revive consumer and business confidence.

Investors are “finding inspiration” from the Wall Street rally while they try to figure out “where to from here” in U.S.-Chinese trade relations, said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report.

“The market sentiment looks to have only improved into the end of the week,” said Pan.

In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 added 1% to 7,687 and Germany’s DAX gained 0.6% to 13,510. France’s CAC 40 rose 0.9% to 6,092.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index future rose 0.2% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.3% higher.

Chinese economic growth held steady in the three months ending in December at the previous quarter’s rate of 6% over a year earlier.

Monthly activity indicators showed “industry and investment improved sharply in December,” William Adams of PNC Financial Services Group said in a report.

Forecasters said the U.S.-Chinese trade deal might help to reassure companies and consumers that relations wouldn’t deteriorate further. The U.S. government postponed planned tariff hikes on additional Chinese goods and Beijing promised to buy more American farm exports.

If the public believes the truce is genuine, “improved sentiment could also boost economic growth in the near-term,” said Adams.

In Asia on Friday, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1 point to 3,075.50 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.4% to 24,041.26. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.6% to 29,056.42.

Seoul’s Kospi added 0.1% to 2,250.57 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.3% to 7,064.10. India’s Sensex was 0.1% higher at 41,992.28.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 18 cents to $58.70 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 71 cents to $58.52 on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 21 cents to $64.83 per barrel in London. It rose 62 cents the previous session to $64.62.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged up to 110.15 yen from Thursday’s 110.13 yen. The euro fell to $1.1106 from $1.1136.

Categories: National & International News