Global Markets - U.S. stocks edge up on defense, healthcare gains; pound firms
By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gains in defense shares as well as healthcare helped to keep U.S. stocks in positive territory on Thursday, while an end to the latest chapter in Britain's exit from the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May's defeat of a confidence vote, lifted sterling. S&P 500 industrials rose, led by defense contractors Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman , after U.S.
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gains in defense shares as well as healthcare helped to keep U.S. stocks in positive territory on Thursday, while an end to the latest chapter in Britain's exit from the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May's defeat of a confidence vote, lifted sterling.
S&P 500 industrials <.SPLRCI> rose, led by defense contractors Lockheed Martin
Also among sectors with the biggest gains were materials <.SPLRCM> and health care <.SPXHC>, a sector that has been a laggard this year after having outperformed all other major S&P sectors in 2018.
"Stocks have been supported this year by a lot of rebalancing that's going on. There is a ritual in the stock market of buying what was down the most or selling what was up the most the prior year," said John Augustine, chief investment officer for Huntington Private Bank in Cincinnati.
Those gains helped to offset declines in other areas. Morgan Stanley
Investors have also begun to worry that the U.S. government shutdown is taking a toll on the U.S. economy. White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said the shutdown would shave 0.13 percent off quarterly economic growth for each week that it continues.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 17.53 points, or 0.07 percent, to 24,224.69, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 8.52 points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,624.62 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 19.31 points, or 0.27 percent, to 7,054.00.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> rose 0.04 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe <.MIWD00000PUS> gained 0.20 percent.
Some investors took heart from Beijing's confirmation that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will head to the United States on Jan. 30 for more negotiations with Washington. Recent talks to resolve a protracted trade battle between the U.S. and China brought little progress.
Adding to concerns was legislation introduced by U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday that would ban the sale of U.S. chips or other components to Huawei
That came shortly before the Wall Street Journal reported federal prosecutors were investigating allegations that Huawei stole trade secrets from U.S. businesses.
European banks tumbled <.SX7E> after France's Societe Generale
As expected, British Prime Minister May narrowly won a confidence vote late Wednesday and invited other party leaders for talks to try to break the impasse on a Brexit agreement.
An outline for a Brexit Plan B https://reut.rs/2TVKYfe is due by next Monday and markets are currently assuming that with no easy way forward for May she will have to extend the date of Britain's exit from the European Union past the scheduled March 29.
"Risk assets are performing well as of late, despite what's happening with the Brexit situation. The confidence vote was a positive step for May," said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist at Allianz Investment Management in Minneapolis.
U.S. Treasury yields ticked up as better-than-expected economic data offset the trade tensions between China and the United States, holding down safe-haven bids for U.S. government debt.
Benchmark 10-year notes
Oil prices fell after U.S. crude production neared an unprecedented 12 million barrels per day.
Asia stock markets https://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
Asia-Pacific valuations https://tmsnrt.rs/2Dr2BQA
The chips (makers) are down https://tmsnrt.rs/2HieTMX
World FX rates in 2019 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
(Additional reporting by Medha Singh and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru, April Joyner in New York, and Marc Jones in London; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Steve Orlofsky)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.