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GLOBAL MARKETS-Stock rally stalls ahead of U.S.-China trade deal, oil gains

Reuters | Updated: 14-01-2020 22:12 IST | Created: 14-01-2020 22:12 IST
GLOBAL MARKETS-Stock rally stalls ahead of U.S.-China trade deal, oil gains

Equity markets traded little changed globally on Tuesday as investors awaited the signing of the China-U.S. trade deal, while oil prices rose on hopes the agreement will help revive the world's sluggish economy. Gold prices slid as the planned signing Wednesday of the Phase 1 trade deal dampened the appeal of safe-haven bullion and the Japanese yen, which dropped to eight-month lows.

MSCI's all-country world index and shares on Wall Street backed off fresh records reached on Monday as investors said the long-awaited trade deal has been priced into the market. China has pledged to buy almost $80 billion of additional manufactured goods from the United States over the next two years as part of a trade war truce, a source told Reuters on Monday.

China would also buy over $50 billion more in energy supplies and boost purchases of U.S. services by about $35 billion over the same two-year period, the source said. The deal is a step in the right direction and once the rhetoric is backed with action, further progress may be made as these negotiations continue, said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group in Minneapolis.

"However, I find a radical shift in Chinese spending unlikely. I have low expectations for meeting stated goals," Paulsen said. Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia, said reports of additional purchases "was incrementally positive."

"The fact that the China thing is not getting worse and we have an agreement is lessening one of the things that could go wrong in 2020," Tuz said. MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.04%, while the pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.22%.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 92.09 points, or 0.32%, to 28,999.14. The S&P 500 lost 2.26 points, or 0.07%, to 3,285.87 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 13.28 points, or 0.14%, to 9,260.65. Overnight in Asia, Japan's Nikkei added 0.7% to hit its highest level in a month. Australian shares rose by the same margin to close at a record.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Shanghai blue chips also hit multi-month peaks before running out of steam. China's yuan was slightly weaker after earlier hitting a high last seen in July. The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday reversed its designation of China as a currency manipulator in what is seen as a conciliatory gesture before the trade deal is signed.

The dollar index rose 0.08%, with the euro down 0.08% to $1.1124. The yen weakened 0.12% versus the greenback to 110.08 per dollar. Global oil benchmark Brent crude rose as the trade deal marks a major step in ending a dispute that has cut global growth and dented crude demand.

The trade dispute has had a tangible impact on global oil demand growth last year, said Tamas Varga, an analyst at broker PVM. Varga pointed to 2019 demand growth of 890,000 barrels per day (bpd), compared with initial forecasts of 1.5 million bpd. Brent crude gained 38 cents to $64.58 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 19 cents to $58.27 a barrel.

U.S. consumer prices rose slightly in December even as households paid more for healthcare, and monthly underlying inflation slowed, supporting the Federal Reserve's desire to keep interest rates unchanged at least through this year. The weak inflation report from the Labor Department on Tuesday came on the heels of data last week showing a moderation in job growth in December. Economists said these developments were flagging a sharp slowdown in domestic demand.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 7/32 in price to yield 1.8231%.


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