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European stocks rise amid optimism about US-China trade

Edmund Heaphy
·Finance and news reporter
·2-min read
U.S. President Donald Trump stands with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin prior to signing "phase one" of the U.S.-China trade agreement in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque?
US President Donald Trump with Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin prior to the signing of a phase one US-China trade deal in January. Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

European stocks rose on Wednesday amid renewed optimism about US-China trade tensions.

Investors, who are awaiting a key speech on Thursday from US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, have been buoyed by discussions between officials from both countries.

A phone call involving Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin saw both countries renew their commitment to a trade deal on Tuesday.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (^STOXX) rose by around 0.5%, while London’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) fell marginally.

Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) rose by around 0.6% after the country’s government agreed to continue funding its furlough scheme for an extra year, while France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) was up by around 0.3%.

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“Given the choppiness seen so far this week, we’re not expecting to see significant moves one way or the other,” said Michael Hewson, the chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

“The main drivers remain on US-China trade relations and on tomorrow’s central bank symposium,” he said, referring to Thursday’s Jackson Hole meeting, during which Powell is expected to give details on the Federal Reserve’s framework review.

Stocks in Asia declined on Wednesday despite the easing of trade tensions.

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Shanghai’s SSE Composite Index (^SSEC) fell by 1.3%, while the Hang Seng (^HSI) closed more than 0.2% in the red in Hong Kong.

Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) fell marginally, while the KOSPI Composite Index (^KOSPI) in South Korea climbed by around 0.1%. Australia’s ASX 200 (^AXJO) fell by around 0.7%.

Futures were also pointing to a flat open for stocks in the US.

Futures on the S&P 500 (ES=F), which on Tuesday closed at a record high for the third straight day, rose by less than 0.1%. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F) fell marginally.

Futures on the Nasdaq (NQ=F), which also closed at a record high on Tuesday due to surging shares among tech giants such as Facebook (FB), Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) and Amazon (AMZN), rose by around 0.3%.