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Shares near two-month highs on hopes of trade deal, Fed cut

Published 10/28/2019, 06:09 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians enter and the London Stock Exchange

By Ritvik Carvalho

LONDON (Reuters) - World shares steadied near two-month highs on Monday, boosted by hopes for a trade deal and strong U.S. corporate earnings, while the dollar traded near its highest in a week before a Federal Reserve rate decision.

MSCI's All Country World Index (MIWD00000PUS), which tracks shares across 47 countries, was up 0.04% on the day. It was just off its highest level since July 27.

But European shares fell as a glum profit outlook from HSBC offset gains by trade-exposed auto and mining stocks. The pan-European STOXX 600 index (STOXX) was down 0.16%.

The pound edged up after the European Union agreed to extend the deadline for Brexit until Jan. 31, 2020. It last traded 0.06% higher at $1.2844.

Euro zone bond yields rose in anticipation of the EU's decision, after sources said the EU was most likely to grant one.

Earlier, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (MIAPJ0000PUS) rose 0.5% to its highest since late July, for a third straight day of gains.

The CSI300 (CSI300) of blue-chip mainland China shares was up 0.8%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index (HSI) jumped as much as 1.0%. Japan's Nikkei (N225) rose 0.3% to a one-year high. The advances came after U.S. and European markets gained on Friday.

"Markets are likely to enter a standby mode ahead of the Fed's rate decision on Wednesday amid ongoing developments in the China-US trade negotiations and the corporate earnings season," Danske Bank said in a research note.

U.S. and Chinese officials are "close to finalizing" some parts of a trade agreement after high-level telephone discussions on Friday, the U.S. Trade Representative's office and China's Commerce Ministry said, with talks to continue.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said he hopes to sign the deal with China's President Xi Jinping next month at a summit in Chile.

The protracted trade war between the world's largest economies has hurt manufacturing, exports and business confidence globally and hurt the profits of many major industrial firms.

Optimism that Beijing and Washington were close to resolving their dispute led the S&P500 (SPX) to surpass its July 26 closing record of 3,025.86, though it ended just below that level on Friday. The S&P 500's total return index (SPXT) posted an all-time high.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 (ESc1) were up 0.16% in early deals in London.

Strong results from companies including Intel (O:INTC) also boosted sentiment in equities markets. More than 81% of U.S. companies have beaten Wall Street expectations so far this earnings season, despite concerns about the trade war.

Investors next await earnings from the likes of Alphabet Inc (O:GOOGL), Apple (O:AAPL), Facebook (O:FB) and Exxon (N:XOM).

Activity later in the week will be dominated by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which markets expect will lower interest rates at its Wednesday meeting. Futures show a 90% probability of a cut.

The Bank of Japan meets on Thursday. On Friday, indicators for Chinese and U.S. manufacturing will be released.

"The outcome of the FOMC (Federal Open Markets Committee) policy meeting will most likely draw the largest market reaction," said Richard Grace, Sydney-based chief currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank.

"We also think the risk is the FOMC will articulate a pause," for future rate decisions, Grace added.

In currencies, the dollar index (DXY) was 0.05% lower against a basket of six major currencies. The euro (EUR=D3) was edged up 0.1% to $1.1109.

Oil prices fell after strong gains last week, as data released in China reinforced signs that its economy is slowing[O/R]

U.S. crude slipped 0.65% to $56.29 a barrel. Brent fell more than half a percent to $61.68.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians enter and the London Stock Exchange

Spot gold rose 0.15% to $1,506.3 an ounce.

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