Global markets mostly higher amid trade optimism

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Global stock markets moved mostly higher on Friday amid optimism that US-Chinese trade relations are improving and on early reports that online Christmas shopping was up over last year in the US.

European markets rose in midday trading and Wall Street was primed for more gains after reaching new highs yet again on Thursday. Hong Kong finished with gains and Tokyo declined.

Investors welcomed US President Donald Trump’s comment that an interim “Phase 1” trade deal with China was “getting done.” Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would hold a signing ceremony.

Traders still are waiting to see details of the agreement aimed at helping to settle a 17-month-old trade war between the two countries.

Chinese customs data this week showed November soybean imports rose in a possible boost to American farmers. Midwestern farm states were battered by Beijing’s earlier suspension of purchases of US soybeans, the biggest Chinese import from the United States, in response to Trump’s tariff hikes on goods from China.

“Broadly risk sentiment is positive,” Mizuho Bank said in a report.

In midday trading, Frankfurt’s DAX rose 0.5 percent to 13,375 and France’s CAC 40 also gained 0.5 percent to 6,058. London’s FTSE turned around after early losses and was up 0.3 percent to 7,656.

On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.3 percent.

On Thursday, both reached new highs. The S&P 500 rose 0.5 percent and the Dow gained 0.4 percent. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.8 percent.

Investors welcomed a report by Mastercard SpendingPulse that showed US online Christmas shopping rose 18.8 percent over a year earlier.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index was off 2 points at 3,005.04 and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.4 percent to 23,837.72. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 1.2 percent to 28,202.10 and Seoul’s Kospi added 0.3 percent to 2,204.21.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.4 percent to 6,821.70 and India’s Sensex advanced 0.8 percent to 41,507.97.

Benchmarks in Taiwan and Singapore advanced while New Zealand declined.

Also Friday, Japan’s government reported factory output fell 0.9 percent in November compared with the previous month. Japanese retail sales rose 4.5 percent over a month earlier but inventory levels were high.

Despite optimism about US-Chinese trade, traders still are concerned about bigger unresolved disputes.

The coming year also has the added complication of the US presidential election.

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