World stocks bounce on reports of US-China talks

World stocks bounce on reports of US-China talks
A man walks past an electronic stock indicator of a securities firm in Tokyo on Monday.

london - There is optimism that the United States and China are set to begin negotiations on trade

World stocks came off 6-week lows and US stock futures jumped on Monday on optimism that the United States and China are set to begin negotiations on trade, easing fears about a trade war between the world's two largest economies.

MSCI's world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, turned positive on the day, having earlier hit its lowest level since February 9, after a Wall Street Journal report that US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin was considering a visit to Beijing to begin negotiations.

US stock futures meanwhile rose more than 1 per cent on the news.

"Exemptions on steel/aluminium tariffs have already been granted for other important trade partners [Canada, Mexico, EU], which suggests the US president is using this approach more for negotiating leverage rather than any real intention to start a global trade war," wrote Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, noting a "measured" and "nuanced" response from China so far.

Most European stock indices opened slightly higher, with the Stoxx 600 benchmark up 0.4 per cent and the export-sensitive German DAX up 0.5 per cent.

Japan's Nikkei meanwhile erased earlier losses of 1.3 per cent to end 0.7 per cent higher.

Signs of potential compromises were also supported by news overnight that South Korea would be exempted from US steel tariffs in a revision of the bilateral trade pact between the two countries. South Korea's benchmark share index rose 0.8 per cent.

Concerns over the formation of a new anti-establishment government in Italy weighed on Southern European debt on Monday, though this was counterbalanced to an extent by a ratings upgrade for Spain late on Friday.

Italian bonds underperformed, with 10-year yields rising as much as 4.5 basis points in early trade, on further signs the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the anti-migrant League might explore an alliance to form a government.

But the euro was still on a positive trajectory, hitting a 10-day high of $1.2393 at one stage. - Reuters

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