Hopes of US-China trade war reprieve spark wider global rally

LONDON • The risk-on tone in global markets extended yesterday, propelling stocks higher amid further optimism for US-China trade talks and stable borrowing costs.

Haven assets declined, from Treasuries and bonds to gold and the yen. US equity futures rose, following the S&P 500 Index's first close above its 50-day average since early last month, and all 19 sectors of the Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed.

Oil extended a third week of gains towards US$53 a barrel in New York. Treasuries fell along with core German and French sovereign debt, while an index of European corporate credit risk fell to a two-month low.

Equities and lower-rated debt head into the weekend with momentum after investors got some relief over concerns about the growth and rates outlook from United States economic data and central bankers. Chicago Fed president Charles Evans said the American economy is doing well, allowing that "we can easily be patient" in deciding on further interest-rate increases.

Global stocks powered towards their fourth weekly gain, helped by positive reports on trade. "We think valuations are attractive," said Ms Marija Veitmane, senior multi-asset strategist at State Street. "There's quite a lot of bad news already priced in. Lack of bad news is good news, and we can see markets re-pricing back to higher multiples."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2019, with the headline 'Hopes of trade war reprieve spark wider global rally'. Print Edition | Subscribe