A man looks at an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. Stocks were broadly higher in Asia on Friday after gains overnight on Wall Street. Investors have stepped up buying on hopes for an easing of tensions in the costly trade war between the U.S. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

World shares buoyed by fresh optimism over US-China trade

September 13, 2019 - 5:54 am

BANGKOK (AP) — World shares were mostly higher on Friday, buoyed by fresh stimulus from the European Central Bank and hopes for progress in China-U.S. trade talks.

Germany's DAX picked up 0.1% to 12,426.92 and the CAC 40 in France added 0.2% to 5,651.91.

But Britain's FTSE 100 gave up 0.2% to 7,327.05 after the House of Commons speaker, John Bercow, warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson that Parliament would aggressively defend legislation meant to block a "no-deal" Brexit.

The new law, which took effect this week, requires Johnson to ask the European Union for an extension of the Oct. 31 deadline for Britain to leave the bloc if no deal is reached by mid-October.

Wall Street was poised for gains, with the S&P 500 future contract up 0.2% to 3,020.40. The Dow future was trading 0.3% higher at 27,267.00.

Most markets across the globe advanced amid signs the U.S. and China may be moving to allay tensions in their costly trade war.

In the latest sign the stalemate may be easing, a Chinese state news agency says U.S. soybeans, pork and some other farm products will be exempt from tariff hikes in a possible goodwill gesture ahead of trade negotiations next month.

The official Xinhua News Agency announced the step Friday, citing unidentified official sources, but gave no details.

Soybeans are the biggest U.S. export to China but purchases stopped after President Donald Trump hiked tariffs on Chinese imports in a fight over trade and technology.

That news came after most Asian markets were closed.

Japan's Nikkei 225 added 1.1% to 21,988.29 while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbed 1.0% to 27,352.69. Sydney's S&P ASX 200 added 0.2% points to 6,669.20. Markets in Shanghai, Taiwan and South Korea were closed for holidays. India's Sensex jumped 0.8% to 37,383.98. Shares also rose in Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta but fell in Malaysia.

The U.S. has agreed to delay another round of tariffs on Chinese imports by two weeks to Oct. 15. Meanwhile, Chinese importers have asked U.S. suppliers for prices for soybeans, pork and other farm goods — a sign they might step up purchases of American agricultural products.

The gestures stoked cautious optimism that the next round of trade talks in October between Washington and Beijing may lead to some progress after a string of failed attempts at resolving the longstanding dispute.

The U.S.-China talks have stalled since early May, when the two sides appeared close to a deal. Along the way, the countries have slapped import taxes on hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of each other's products.

Financial markets were rattled in August as the trade conflict escalated yet again, fueling worries that more tariffs and a slowing global economy could bump the U.S. into a recession. The economic uncertainty has also become a drag on companies.

The two countries' conciliatory moves Wednesday and Thursday have raised hopes on Wall Street that the upcoming round of trade negotiations may yield a different outcome than previous attempts, given the toll the friction is having on both economies.

"The goodwill moves also highlight the political pressure that both sides are under in response to the economic damage the trade war is causing," Shane Oliver of AMP Capital said in a commentary. "President Trump in particular looks to be getting nervous at increasing signs that the trade war is impacting the US growth outlook and the risk this poses to his re-election next year."

ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil fell 32 cents to $54.77 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 66 cents to settle at $55.09 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, dropped 36 cents to $60.02 a barrel.

The dollar fell to 107.97 Japanese yen from 108.12 yen on Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.1103 from $1.1072.

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