Trade Prospects Lift Global Stocks – Wall Street Journal

  • Asia stocks higher
  • U.S. retail sales due
  • Stocks head for weekly gains

Global stocks rose Friday as trade prospects appeared to improve, putting most major indexes on track for weekly gains.

The Stoxx Europe 600 edged up 0.4% in early trading, while markets in Asia closed higher and futures pointed to a 0.2% opening rise for the S&P 500.

The S&P 500 notched its biggest gain in two weeks on Thursday, lifted by optimism about U.S.-China trade talks and gains in Apple and other technology companies.

Stocks appeared to rise on news the Trump administration is giving Beijing another chance to try to stave off new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese exports, asking top officials for a fresh round of trade talks later this month, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week.

Stocks have swung back and forth in recent weeks on trade developments as investors attempt to assess the potential impact of new trade agreements on supply chains and the global economy.

Chinese investors play cards near an electronic display showing stock prices at a brokerage house in Beijing on Tuesday.


Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press

“What’s driving intraday volatility and choppiness in the market? It’s going to be trade,” said Shawn Cruz, who manages trading strategy at TD Ameritrade. “We still haven’t seen what’s actually going to get put in place…so it’s more or less a risk aversion exercise.”

In Europe on Friday, shares of industrial, technology and mining companies were among the biggest advancers, while utilities and telecom companies—which tend to outperform during times of economic weakness as investors seek stability—lagged behind.

In Asia, stocks were broadly higher, with benchmarks in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea up 1% or more. Japan’s Nikkei closed at its highest since early February. Shanghai stocks edged down 0.2%.

U.S. retail sales figures for August are due later Friday after data showed Americans boosted their spending in July. Another strong reading would be important for market sentiment, particularly for shares of consumer-oriented stocks, in light of a recent pickup in wage growth, said Mr. Cruz.

A robust economy drove U.S. wages higher in August, data showed last week, with private-sector hourly wages growing 2.9% from a year earlier, the fastest pace since mid-2009.

“If that’s not translating into retail spending, retailers will feel the brunt of that move” as it costs more to pay their employees, he said.

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