Many global markets climbed Thursday following a report that the U.S. has proposed a new round of trade negotiations with China before going ahead with plans to slap tariffs on $200 billion or more in Chinese goods.
Investors were also keeping an eye on European Central Bank and Bank of England meetings, where no policy changes are expected.
KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, France‘s CAC 40 gained 0.3 percent in early trading to 5,348.25 while the DAX in Germany added 0.5 percent to 12,096.49. Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped 0.2 percent to 7,295.59. Wall Street was set for a positive open. Dow futures added 0.1 percent to 26,047.00 and S&P 500 futures also gained 0.1 percent to 2,891.30.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 1.0 percent to 22,821.32, and the Kospi in South Korea rose 0.1 percent to 2,286.23. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 2.5 percent to 27,014.49. The Shanghai Composite index rallied 1.2 percent to 2,686.58. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.8 percent to 6,128.70. Stocks were higher in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
US-CHINA TALKS: According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. officials recently proposed a new round of trade negotiations with China. That would give the Chinese government another chance to address U.S. concerns before the Trump administration imposes bigger tariffs on goods imported from China, the report said. The two countries have already placed new taxes on $50 billion in imports, and the U.S. is threatening higher tariffs on $200 billion in goods and possibly more.
China has vowed to retaliate and has put off accepting license applications from American companies hoping to operate in the country. It has also asked to be allowed to impose sanctions against the United States for failing to abide by a World Trade Organization ruling on anti-dumping measures. The case centers on U.S. trade limits on Chinese products that the U.S. says are sold below market value.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “The shifting of the balance of trade negotiations away from the U.S. and towards the rest of the world and particularly China is starting to pull up markets,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said in an interview.
NEW iPHONE: Apple unveiled new iPhones with larger screens on Wednesday. The company also said new Apple Watches will have larger screens and new health-monitoring features. Its stocks, which tend to trade lower on the days it announces new products, fell 1.2 percent to $221.07 on Wednesday. Apple is up 31 percent in 2018.
ENERGY: Oil prices fell after rallying on the Energy Information Administration’s announcement that U.S. crude stockpiles fell by more than 5 million barrels last week. Benchmark U.S. crude, which had reached its highest price in two months on Wednesday, dropped 95 cents to $69.42 a barrel. The contract climbed 1.6 percent to settle at $70.37 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 66 cents to $79.08 a barrel. It added 0.9 percent to $79.74 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 111.47 yen from 111.22 yen. The euro fell to $1.1622 from $1.1632.