Stocks surge after China-U.S. trade truce, Wall Street set for jump

LONDON (Reuters) – A truce between U.S. and Chinese leaders on trade tariffs boosted global markets on Monday, fuelling an advance of nearly one percent by world stocks, setting up gains on Wall Street and pushing emerging-market currencies higher against the dollar.

Equity futures showed all three New York indexes set for a strong session, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq seen opening 2.3 percent higher NQc1 while futures for Dow Jones and S&P500 rose 1.6 to 1.9 percent 1YMc1 ESc1.

European benchmarks rallied almost across the board. Germany’s DAX .GDAXI – the most sensitive to China and trade war fears – led the way with a 2.5 percent rise to its highest since Nov. 14.

The gains came after China and the United States agreed at the weekend to halt additional tariffs. The deal should keep their trade war from escalating as they try to bridge differences with talks aimed at reaching a deal within 90 days.

U.S. President Donald Trump also said “China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40 percent”. That helped boost European autos more than 4 percent .SXAP.

The trade truce was the latest “circuit breaker” needed to trigger a return to risk appetite, said Guillermo Felices, head of research and strategy in the Multi-Asset, Quantitative and Solutions team at BNP Paribas Asset Management,

“The first was markets pricing in a more dovish Fed, the second, more aggressive policy stimulus by the Chinese authorities and the third, easing trade tensions,” he said.

The German share price index, DAX board, is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Tilman Blasshofer

Felices cautioned, however, that negotiations had reached a “ceasefire” rather than lasting peace.

“China can deliver on the easy things like buying more agriculture as they need those goods, but when you go into the territory of intellectual property, and industrial and technology policy, you are clashing with China’s long-term aims,” he said.

MSCI’s all-country world index .MIWD00000PUS climbed 0.8 percent in its sixth straight day of gains and hit its highest since Nov. 9. Emerging-market equities .MSCIEF rose two percent and were set for their strongest day in a month.

Graphic: U.S.-China trade truce boosts world stocks –

Asian shares kicked off the rally, with Chinese markets .CSI300 .SSEC rising more than 2.5 percent and Japan’s Nikkei .N225 soaring to six-week highs.

The risk-on mood saw MSCI’s index of emerging-market currencies rise 0.7 percent .MIEM00000PUS, led by China’s yuan, which saw its biggest daily gain since February 2016 CNY=CFXS.

However, the dollar started to recover after slumping as much as half a percent earlier against a basket of currencies .DXY. By 1145 GMT, it was just 0.2 percent lower, knocking the euro off the day’s highs EUR=EBS.

Market prices are reflected in a glass window at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) in Tokyo, Japan, February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Sterling, meanwhile, dropped as Brexit nerves returned. Against the dollar, the pound GBP=D3 fell to its lowest since October at $1.2708, down nearly 0.7 percent from the day’s highs. Against the euro EURGBP=D3, it slipped 0.3 percent to 89.05 pence.

“Until the British parliament votes on the deal next week, we are going to see a steady drumbeat of Brexit headlines, which is going to keep the pound weak,” Danske Bank strategist Morten Helt said, referring to a Dec. 11 lawmakers’ vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s agreement on leaving the European Union.

However, the dollar has already come under some pressure from a recent shift by the U.S. Federal Reserve to a slightly more dovish stance. Comments by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell were interpreted by markets as hinting at a slower pace of rate increases.

Powell was scheduled to testify later this week to a congressional Joint Economic Committee.

The latest market rally would not bring a return to a more hawkish Fed stance, Berenberg economist Florian Hense said. “We would need to see some rebound in economic activity to lift expectations of more rate hikes,” Hense said.

U.S. Treasury yields pulled back from Friday’s over-two-month lows. Ten-year yields traded around 3.03 percent US10YT=RR.

Germany’s 10-year government bond, the benchmark for the euro area, initially rose four basis points to 0.347 percent DE10YT=RR, but eased back to 0.32 percent.

Yields on riskier southern European bonds were down across the board, though Italian bonds trimmed some gains after the European Central Bank revealed Italy’s share of ECB capital would be cut slightly.

Ten-year yields stayed close to two-month lows, however IT10YT=RR.

Elsewhere, oil soared more than five percent after posting its weakest month in more than 10 years in November, losing more than 20 percent as global supply outstripped demand.

Reporting by Virginia Furness, additional reporting by Wayne Cole and Hideyuki Sano in Sydney and Tokyo; editing by Jon Boyle, Larry King

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