Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Monday, February 18:
1. U.S.-China Trade Talks Continue in Washington
Markets will be keeping abreast of the next round of trade discussions between the U.S. and China in Washington, as the two sides race to reach a deal that would avert a tariff increase on imports of Chinese goods by March 1.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and China’s vice premier and chief trade negotiator, Liu He, will lead the next round of talks scheduled for this week.
Both sides reported progress in five days of negotiations in Beijing last week, but the White House said much work remains to be done in order to reach a deal.
U.S. tariffs on $200 billion in imports from China are set to rise to 25% from 10% if no deal is reached by March 1, but U.S. President Donald Trump said that he may extend the deadline if the two sides were close an agreement.
2. Commerce Submits Auto Tariff Recommendation to Trump
Investors were also watching for more information on a Commerce Department probe on whether to impose tariffs of up to 25% on imported vehicles and auto parts on national-security grounds.
The report was submitted to the White House on Sunday. Trump now has 90 days to decide whether to act upon the recommendations.
The probe is the result of an investigation started by the Commerce Department in May 2018 at Trump's request. Known as a Section 232 investigation, the probe's purpose is to determine the effects of imports on national security.
3. U.S. Markets Closed for Washington's Birthday
U.S. financial markets are closed for Washington's Birthday, more widely known as Presidents Day. In observance of the holiday, there will be no trading on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite indexes.
Fixed-income markets will also be closed, which means no trading in the 10-year Treasury note.
Meanwhile, the CME Group’s Globex, which operates options and futures exchanges, will have only partial disruptions to its normal schedule. According to the company, its crude oil and energy markets will close at 1:00PM ET (18:00 GMT).
Other global markets will operate on a normal schedule.
Currency markets are also operating as usual.
4. Global Stocks Mixed
World stocks were mixed, as market participants continued to monitor trade talks between the world's two largest economies.
Asian stock markets closed mostly in positive territory. Shanghai blue chips surged 2.7% to their highest finish in more than six months, while Tokyo's Nikkei climbed 1.8% to reach its highest level so far this year.
Elsewhere, European stocks were mostly lower in choppy trade, struggling to build on the four-month high they hit on Friday, due in part to the threat of President Donald Trump levying tariffs against European automakers.
5. Oil Prices Hit 2019 Highs
In commodities, oil prices climbed to their highest level for the year so far, supported by OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and Iran, which have helped tighten the market.
Crude futures were also generally supported by hopes that the U.S. and China would soon resolve their trade disputes, which have dragged on global economic growth.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures rose 21 cents, or around 0.4%, to $56.19 per barrel. It earlier rose to its strongest level since Nov. 20 at $56.66.
International Brent crude oil futures also rose to their highest since November, at $66.84 per barrel, before pulling back to $65.98, down 27 cents, or 0.4%.
-- Reuters contributed to this report
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