NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices rose and global equity markets rallied on Thursday after China said it has agreed with the United States to cancel tariffs in phases, a key consideration in reaching an initial deal to end a trade war that has crimped economic growth.
FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., November 6, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Wall Street’s three main stock indexes hit record intraday highs and a gauge of worldwide equity performance surged to a 21-month peak, with a pan-European index at its highest since July 2015.
The dollar gained after comments from a Chinese commerce ministry spokesman about the terms of a potential trade deal prompted investors to dump perceived safe-havens such as the Japanese yen, the Swiss franc, bonds and gold.
No timetable was indicated, but a “phase one” deal is widely expected to include a U.S. pledge to scrap tariffs scheduled for Dec. 15 on about $156 billion worth of Chinese imports, including cell phones, laptop computers and toys.
The news from China is definitely positive, but in a slowing economy with operating earnings trending lower year over year, “the fundamental justification for this market increase is pretty weak,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds in New York.
Investors have few options outside of equities, with the return in money markets and long-term government debt below the rate of inflation, Kelly said. The economy is generating plenty of wealth but it is all going to the stock market, he said.
“The real driver (of the market rally) is that investors in the United State and around the world have got little alternatives available to them because of the actions of the central banks,” Kelly said, “so they’re funneling money into stocks.”
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.45%, while the pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.39%.
Asia had been quiet overnight, and the China news came just before European markets opened. Automakers and miners were among Europe’s top gainers.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 239.49 points, or 0.87%, to 27,732.05. The S&P 500 gained 17.65 points, or 0.57%, to 3,094.43 and the Nasdaq Composite added 62.89 points, or 0.75%, to 8,473.52.
The global benchmark for crude climbed above $62 a barrel. Brent crude rose 56 cents to $62.30 and West Texas Intermediate added 89 cents to $57.24 a barrel.
The dollar rose to near three-month highs versus the yen on the trade news, paring losses earlier in the session, while Australia’s China-sensitive dollar hit a near four-month high.
The dollar index rose 0.24%, with the euro down 0.26% to $1.1036. The yen weakened 0.38% versus the greenback at 109.41 per dollar, while the dollar gained against the Swiss currency, trading up 0.24% at 0.9950 franc.
U.S. Treasury yields rose to eight-week highs.
The benchmark 10-year U.S Treasury note fell 33/32 in price to push its yield up to 1.9242%.
Gold fell, with spot gold trading down 0.37% at $1,469.90 an ounce.
“Global markets in general are looking toward where trade goes,” said Justin Lederer, an interest rates strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York. “The market is being dictated by headlines and it’s risk on, risk off.”
Copper got its customary lift from the China optimism as the country is the biggest buyer of the metal.
Reporting by Herbert Lash, additional reporting by Karen Brettell in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler