Global shares rise as investors watch trade war, economies

Business

A currency trader watches monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. Asian shares were higher Monday, as investors continue to rejigger their read on President Donald Trump’s trade war and growing worries about slowing economies around the world.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

LONDON (AP) — Global stock markets recovered some further ground Monday after last week’s turbulence when ongoing concerns about a trade war between the United States and China and an array of worries about waning growth across the world weighed heavily on sentiment.

Last week, many stock indexes around the world struck their lowest levels this year, before a late rally suggested some calm was returning to the markets in what is a traditionally low-volume time of the year. Though stocks are healthier, the concerns that drove last week’s sell-off have not gone away and could resurface at any time.

“Markets actually ended last week on a relatively good note so what we may actually be witnessing right now is traders relishing the blissful trade war silence rather than anything more optimistic,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

In Europe, France’s CAC 40 and Britain’s FTSE 100 were both up more than 1.2%, while Germany’s DAX rose 1.5%. U.S. shares were set to open higher with Dow and S&P 500 futures both up 1.2%.

The steadier mood was evident in the fact that markets appeared to shrug off a report showing that one-third of economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics said they believe a slowing U.S. economy will tip into recession in 2021. That’s up from 25% in the equivalent survey taken in February.

Trump spent a good portion of the last week tweeting about the U.S. economy from his New Jersey golf club, trying to allay concerns of recession and offering an optimistic outlook for the economy after last week’s steep drop in the financial markets.

“I don’t think we’re having a recession,” Trump told reporters Sunday as he returned to Washington from his New Jersey golf club.

The president’s aides sought to reinforce that message during a series of appearances on the Sunday talk shows.

Investors are hoping that the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue to cut interest rates to shore up economic growth. The central bank lowered interest rates by a quarter-point at its last meeting. It was the first time it lowered rates in a decade.

As well as keeping a close watch on developments surrounding the Fed, investors have to be careful not to be caught out by any news relating to the trade conflict between Washington and Beijing. That’s especially true after Trump’s announcement on Aug. 1 that he planned to extend tariffs across virtually all Chinese imports, many of them consumer products that were exempt from early rounds of tariffs. The tariffs have been delayed, but ultimately will raise costs for U.S. companies bringing goods in from China. 

ASIA’S DAY: In Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.7% to finish at 20,563.16. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.0% to 6,467.40, while South Korea’s Kospi was 0.7% higher at 1,939.90. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 2.1% to 26,278.22. The Shanghai Composite added 2.1% to 2,883.10.

ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil rose 14 cents to $55.01 a barrel. It rose 40 cents to settle at $54.87 a barrel Friday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose 27 cents to $58.91 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 106.64 Japanese yen from 106.24 yen Friday. The euro rose slightly to $1.1097 from $1.1085.

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