Global Markets: Stocks hit record ahead of U.S.-China trade deal, dollar gains

 Global Markets: Stocks hit record ahead of U.S.-China trade deal, dollar gains

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bond yields edged higher while a gauge of global equity markets hit a record high on Monday, lifted by optimism over the planned signing this week of a U.S.-China trade deal and hopes the start of the U.S. corporate earnings season will not disappoint.

Gold prices fell almost 1% ahead of the signing at the White House on Wednesday of the Phase 1 trade deal and as a de-escalation in U.S.-Iran tensions in the Middle East reduced bullion's safe-haven appeal.

U.S. and euro zone government bond yields rose as the trade deal marks a major step in ending a dispute that has cut global growth and boosted demand for such safe-haven assets as bonds, gold and currencies like the Japanese yen and Swiss franc.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> gained 0.45%, topping a record set Friday, while emerging market stocks rose 0.96%. The benchmark S&P 500 <.SPX> and tech-heavy Nasdaq composite <.IXIC> indexes also hit fresh highs on Wall Street.

The United States is planning to lift its designation of China as a currency manipulator, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter, a move that added to the positive mood among investors.

Middle East tensions rose after the United States killed a top Iranian general on Jan. 2 in Baghdad, knocking global stocks off a rally spurred in late 2019 on hopes a trade deal would be signed. Markets have rebounded as both Tehran and Washington desisted from further escalation after Iran retaliated for the killing with an missile attack on U.S. troops in Iraq.

Investors are waiting for corporate results that start in earnest this week with large U.S. banks, including Citigroup Inc , JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co due to report on Tuesday. Excluding energy, earnings growth estimates are 1.9%, according to Refinitiv.

"It's put up or shut up time," said Joe Saluzzi, said co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey. "We've priced in a big rally, we expect growth and now it's time to see it. If we have a good earnings season then it will be great."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 53.41 points, or 0.19%, to 28,877.18, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 18.72 points, or 0.57%, to 3,284.07 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 80.48 points, or 0.88%, to 9,259.34.

Facebook Inc and Apple Inc provided the biggest lift both to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> lost 0.18%.

Renault SA fell to a six-year low after a media report said Japan's Nissan Motor Co Ltd <7201.T> had accelerated secret contingency planning for a potential split from the French carmaker.

Other European automobile stocks <.SXAP> were also down, after China's top auto body reiterated predictions that sales were likely to shrink for the third consecutive year in 2020.

In currency markets, the offshore Chinese yuan hit a 5-1/2-month high and the yen dropped to a 7-1/2-month low as the planned signing of the U.S.-China trade deal boosted sentiment.

The dollar index <.DXY> fell 0.01%, with the euro up 0.14% to $1.1136. The yen weakened 0.42% versus the greenback at 109.92 per dollar.

Oil prices fell about 1% as Middle East tensions eased and investors turned their focus to lackluster seasonal demand following a bearish U.S. report last week of a large increase in gasoline stocks.

Brent crude settled down 78 cents at $64.20 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude slid 96 cents to settle at $58.08 a barrel.

Gold, considered a safe haven during political and economic turmoil, rose last week to an almost seven-year peak of $1,610.90 an ounce after a U.S. drone strike killed a top Iranian commander in Baghdad and Iran launched missiles against U.S. troops in Iraq in retaliation.

U.S. gold futures settled down 0.6% at $1,550.60 an ounce.

(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Alison Williams and Richard Chang)

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Updated Date: Jan 14, 2020 03:07:18 IST