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article imageGlobal stocks calm in hopes of US-China trade deal

By AFP     Apr 9, 2018 in Business

World markets were mostly firmer Monday as fears about a China-US trade war were tempered by hopes the two sides will be able to come to an understanding.

The "consensus is back to believing there will be no trade war," said Jasper Lawler, head of research at LCG.

Most Asian and European equities exchanges rebounded somewhat, as trade war fears gave way to moderate investor optimism, or at least a wait-and-see stance.

"European markets are in a more optimistic mood today, with the focus shifting toward a more constructive end to the US-China standoff," said analyst Joshua Mahony at trading group IG.

US stocks also rose, registering strong gains for much of the day as investors smiled on a dearth of new developments in the ongoing US-China trade showdown that has alarmed markets in recent weeks.

But Wall Street's gains were tempered by late-breaking news on an investigation into President Donald Trump's personal lawyer.

Shortly before the closing bell, it emerged that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had raided the offices of Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.2 percent at 23,979.10, shedding more than 130 points in the last 20 minutes of trading.

"It appears like it's market-moving," Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, said of the Cohen news.

Cohen has admitted to paying porn actress Stephanie Clifford $130,000. Clifford, who goes by Stormy Daniels, claims she received the money to cover up a sexual encounter with Trump more than a decade ago.

Analysts are looking ahead to earnings season, which begins in earnest with JPMorgan Chase and other large banks and is expected be strong.

Some investors say strong earnings could shift the narrative over trade war fears that has rattled investors over the last month.

"It illustrates the importance of maintaining a long-term perspective and it's not smart to make investment decisions based on the last tweet," said Alan Skrainka, chief investment officer at Cornerstone Wealth Management.

"Earnings will remind us that fundamentals matter more."

Among individual stocks, Merck surged 5.3 percent after reporting successful results of a clinical trial for its Keytruda treatment for lung cancer.

Monsanto jumped 6.2 percent following a report the US Justice Department would approve its acquisition by Bayer, the last major hurdle facing the deal.

US shares of Deutsche Bank gained one percent on the announcement that it had replaced chief executive John Cryan with Christian Sewing.

- Key figures around 2100 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 23,979.10 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.3 percent at 2,613.16 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.5 percent at 6,950.34 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,194.75 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.2 percent at 12,261.75 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.1 percent at 5,263.39 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,413.05 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 21,678.26 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.3 percent at 30,229.58 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2318 from $1.2281 at 2100 GMT Friday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 106.75 yen from 106.93

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.4127 from $1.4092

Oil - Brent North Sea: UP $1.54 at $68.65 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP $1.35 at $63.42 per barrel

burs-jmb/oh

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