World shares advance on upbeat comments on US-China trade

Stocks are mostly higher as upbeat comments by Chinese President Xi Jinping helped quell anxiety over the state of China-U.S. trade talks

World stocks rose Friday as upbeat comments by Chinese President Xi Jinping helped quell anxiety over the state of trade talks with the U.S.

Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 1% to 7,311, while the CAC 40 in France gained 0.3% to 5,897. Germany’s DAX picked up 0.1% to 13,146. Wall Street looked set for gains, with the future contracts for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both up nearly 0.2%.

Xi told a visiting delegation in Beijing on Friday that he hoped to work toward a resolution of the 18-month-old tariff dispute with Washington. He added, though, that China was not “afraid” and would “fight back” if necessary.

Investors turned cautious this week amid concerns that the U.S. and China will fail to strike a deal before the year is over.

The world’s two largest economies have been negotiating a resolution to their trade war ahead of new tariffs set to hit key consumer goods on Dec. 15. Investors have been hoping for a deal before that happens, as the tariffs would increase prices on smartphones, laptops and many common household goods, just before Christmas.

Meeting with a U.S. delegation from Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum, a conference held in Beijing this week, Xi said “We want to work for a Phase 1 agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that China’s lead negotiator in the talks, Vice Premier Liu He, has invited his U.S. counterparts to Beijing for more talks. That also swayed markets in a positive direction.

The uncertainty over the trade dispute between the two largest economies, “has investors sitting in that all too familiar predicament of trade war limbo,” Stephen Innes of AxiTrader said in a commentary.

“It does sound positive on the surface, but equity markets remain cautious given the numerous stops and starts, not to mention dead ends these trade discussions have met with,” he said.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.3% to 23,112.88, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong picked up 0.5% to 26,595.08. South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.3% higher to 2,101.96 and the S&P ASX 200 in Australia advanced 0.6% to 6,709.80. The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.6% to 2,885.29 and the Sensex in India dropped 0.5% to 40,359.41.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 33 cents to $58.25 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude oil, the international standard, declined 16 cents to $63.81 per barrel.

The dollar was down slightly, at 108.51 Japanese yen from 108.54 on Thursday. The euro slipped to $1.1058 from $1.1061.

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