World shares gain on reports Trump might delay tariff hike

BEIJING (AP) – Global stock markets rose yesterday following reports United States (US) President Donald Trump’s advisers were preparing for a possible delay in a weekend tariff hike on Chinese goods.

London and Frankfurt rose in early trading while Shanghai and Hong Kong closed higher. Tokyo declined. Investors were counting on Trump to postpone Sunday’s duty increase on USD160 billion of Chinese imports. But with no official action, Wall Street fell for a second day on Tuesday.

The Wall Street Journal and other outlets reported Trump’s advisers were preparing to postpone punitive duties on smartphones, laptop computers, toys and other goods. But they said the President had yet to decide.

“Markets hope that the tariff can is kicked down the road while talks are underway,” said Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report. However, he warned, such hopes are “tentative if not fragile” with no commitment from Trump.

London’s FTSE 100 gained .04 per cent to 7,239.74 and Frankfurt’s DAX added 0.5 per cent to 13,139.99. France’s CAC 40 gained 0.1 per cent to 5,853.59.

A man walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo. PHOTO: AP

On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were 0.1 per cent higher. Both declined 0.1 per cent on Tuesday.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.2 per cent to 2,924.42 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.8 per cent to 26,645.43. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 shed less than 0.1 per cent to 23,391.86.

South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.4 per cent to 2,105.62 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.7 per cent to 6,752.60. India’s Sensex gained 0.1 per cent to 40,292.15. Taiwan and Singapore advanced while New Zealand retreated. Investors are looking ahead to the US Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates today by the European Central Bank.

Both are expected to affirm a commitment to low rates to support economic growth.

Elsewhere, markets are watching Britain’s Parliamentary election. Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the election two years before it was required in hopes of a gaining a majority in the House of Commons to support his plan to leave the European Union (EU) by the end of January whether or not the two sides have negotiated details of their future relations.

The biggest risk for stocks has been the US-Chinese tariff fight over Beijing’s technology ambitions and trade surplus. It has weighed on global commerce and threatens to depress economic growth.

Democrats in the US House of Representatives and the White House announced a revised trade deal with Mexico and Canada. The deal would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement and would offer more provisions for US workers.

ENERGY: Benchmark US crude lost 36 cents to USD58.88 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 22 cents on Tuesday to USD59.24. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 48 cents to USD63.86. It added nine cents the previous session to USD64.34.

CURRENCY: The dollar edged down to JPY108.73 from Tuesday’s JPY108.74. The euro declined to USD1.1084 from USD1.1091.