Global stocks gain as trade tensions ebb

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LONDON (Reuters) – Global stocks rose on Friday as strong company earnings reports and an easing of transatlantic trade tensions on an agreement between the United States and Europe this week to try to cut trade barriers boosted investor confidence.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Spanish NH Hoteles chain is seen on the roof of one of its hotel in central Madrid October 28, 2009. REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo

The MSCI All-Country World Index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up 0.1 percent after the start of European trading.

It was set for a sixth straight sessions of gains, a run not seen since February, and was set for its fourth weekly gain on the trot.

European stocks inched up in early trade and were set to end the week at six-week highs, helped by easing fears over U.S. tariffs and good company results.

Shares rose in consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser, construction groups Saint Gobain and Vinci and bank BBVA following well-received results, lifting the STOXX 600 up 0.1 percent.[.EU]

European automaker stocks added to Thursday’s gains.

Trade tensions had not disappeared altogether from investors radars however. Chinese shares underperformed an uptick in Asian shares, with the main Shanghai index in the red for most of the day. Traders attributed this to a still unresolved standoff between the U.S. and China on trade.

“To see the way markets reacted early yesterday, and the DAX in particular, which closed at a five-week high, it was almost as if the EU and the U.S. were best buddies again,” said Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets in London.

“Nothing could be further from the truth, and while the prospect of tariffs on European cars has diminished, it hasn’t gone away completely, which means inevitably the market shifts its attention elsewhere. That elsewhere concerns what could happen next with respect to China, and the prospect of an escalation there.”

So far this month, MSCI China A shares have fallen 2.6 percent, taking the biggest hit from U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats on tariffs and other issues among major markets, compared to 3.3 percent gains in the MSCI ACWI.

The Chinese yuan eased, on course to mark its seventh week of losses, although the losses were cushioned by Chinese state banks’ swapping of dollars for yuan in the forward market. Traders suspected they had also been selling spot dollars.

Borrowing costs in the euro zone’s biggest economy, Germany, held below six-week highs, a day after the European Central Bank’s president backed market expectations for a rise in interest rates late next year. [GVD/EUR]

Most 10-year bond yields in the bloc were steady ahead of second quarter U.S. economic growth data due at 1230 GMT that many economists expect to show a strong reading.

The 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield edged up to 2.9880 percent, its highest level in 1-1/2 months, on receding worries about trade tensions.

Japan’s 10-year government bond yield slipped off a one-year high after the BOJ conducted special, unlimited buying for the second time this week.

Most market players expect central bankers meeting on Monday to stop short of making immediate policy changes and to say instead that they will study ways to reduce the side-effects of the prolonged easing, such as hits to banks’ profits.

In currencies, the dollar slipped 0.1 percent to 111.13 yen as the yen got a lift from a rise in Japanese bond yields.

Against a basket of currencies, the greenback was up 0.1 percent at 94.845, hitting a five-day high. [FRX/]

The euro traded down 0.1 percent at $1.1630, having fallen 0.73 percent on Thursday after the ECB signaled no change in its timetable to move away from ultra low rates or end its bond purchase program.

“There was a dovish spin relative to what one could have expected, given a recent source-based story that some members of the governing council were not happy with the market pricing on rates,” said Christoph Rieger, head of rates at Commerzbank.

In commodities, oil prices edged lower in quiet trading after three days of gains, but took support from Saudi Arabia halting crude transport through a key shipping lane and falling U.S. inventories. [O/R]

Brent crude futures traded down half a percent at $74.17 per barrel, having gained 2.0 percent so far this week.

Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,221.03 an ounce as of 0824 GMT. The precious metal was, however, on track for its third straight weekly decline. [GOL/]

Copper edged up, again boosted by receding trade tensions. It is on course to gain 2.4 percent on the London Metal Exchange and 3.7 percent on the Shanghai Futures Exchange this week, which would mark its first weekly rise in seven on both bourses after fears of a global trade war dragged prices down. [MET/L]

Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; additional reporting by Asia markets team; Editing by Jon Boyle

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