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Global shares tick up as hopes for Sino-U.S. breakthrough stay intact

December 2, 2019

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO (Reuters) – Global shares ticked up on Monday and oil rebounded after a big fall late last week, as investors clung to hopes Beijing and Washington could reach a compromise in trade talks although increasing tensions over Hong Kong unsettled market confidence.

MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> was up 0.17%, reclaiming some of its one-percent-plus loss on Friday while Japan’s Nikkei <.N225> rose 0.85%.

U.S. stock futures <ESc1> gained 0.29% to edge near their record highs after a dip in a truncated U.S. session on Friday due to Thanksgiving holiday.

MSCI’s broadest gauge of world shares, all-country world index <.MIWD00000PUS>, ticked up 0.07% and stood within reach of its all-time peak hit in January 2018.

While U.S. legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters last week hit optimism of a U.S.-China trade deal, investors are nonetheless holding the broad view that a further escalation in the trade war can be avoided.

“It looks a bit difficult for two countries’ leaders to shake hands and sign a deal this month. What is more likely is to essentially kick the can, with China buying more U.S. farm products while the U.S. postpones its next tariffs,” said Hiroyuki Ueno, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Asset Management.

“Markets will consider such an arrangement as a de facto deal whether they officially sign it or not,” he said.

Investors have long thought that the United States will avoid imposing an additional 15% tariff on about $156 billion of Chinese products on Dec. 15 after signing a deal with China.

The two countries have been so far unable to bridge the gap over existing tariffs on Chinese goods, with Beijing demanding scrapping them as a part of any trade deal.

A trade deal between United States and China was now “stalled because of Hong Kong legislation”, news website Axios reported on Sunday, citing a source close to U.S. President Donald Trump’s negotiating team.

China’s Foreign Ministry last week lambasted U.S. legislation signed by President Donald Trump on Wednesday backing protesters in Hong Kong as a serious interference in Chinese affairs.

In the currency market the yen weakened, helped also by expectations that Japan could put together a large-scale fiscal spending package to bolster its economy.

Against the yen, the dollar rose 0.25% to 109.675 yen <JPY=>, a six-month high.

The euro stood little changed at $1.10215 <EUR=>, bouncing back from seven-week low of $1.0981 hit in U.S. trade.

The British pound slipped 0.25% to $1.2909 <GBP=D4> after opinion polls during the weekend showed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party saw its lead over the opposition Labour Party narrow. Oil prices bounced back a tad after a big slump on Friday on concerns about fresh trade tensions and record high U.S. crude production.

The market drew some support from expectations that OPEC and its allies are likely to extend existing oil output cuts when they meet this week , with non-OPEC oil producer Russia supporting Saudi Arabia’s push for stable oil prices amid the listing of state oil giant Saudi Aramco.

Brent crude <LCOc1> futures rose 1.16% to $61.19 a barrel while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude <CLc1> gained 1.41% to $55.95 per barrel.

(Editing by Sam Holmes)

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