By Lewis Krauskopf
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of stocks around the world rose to its highest point in about two months on Monday amid hopes for improving trade relations between the United States and China, while the U.S. dollar weakened for a fourth straight session against a basket of currencies.
U.S. President Donald Trump pledged on Sunday to help ZTE Corp "get back into business, fast" after a U.S. ban crippled the Chinese technology company, offering a job-saving concession to Beijing ahead of high-stakes trade talks this week.
MSCI's index of stocks across the globe gained 0.22 percent, hitting a roughly two-month high during the session.
Growing trade tensions have worried investors, with concerns about a global trade war feeding into increased volatility in the stock market in recent months.
“At least today, investors are looking at that as a sign that meaningful negotiations are going forward between the U.S. and China on trade,” Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama, said of the ZTE announcement.
Wall Street's main indexes edged higher in afternoon trading, pulling back from stronger gains earlier in the session.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 85.61 points, or 0.34 percent, to 24,916.78, the S&P 500 gained 4.08 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,731.8 and the Nasdaq Composite added 17.99 points, or 0.24 percent, to 7,420.87.
Shares of optical components makers Acacia Communications and Oclaro Inc rallied following the ZTE news.
In Asia, Shanghai's SSE Composite index rose 0.3 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 1.4 percent, and Japan's Nikkei rose 0.5 percent.
Investors also pointed to improving sentiment about geopolitical tensions involving North Korea. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that Washington would agree to lift sanctions on North Korea if the country agrees to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, a move that would create economic prosperity that "will rival" that of South Korea.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 0.04 percent.
The dollar fell as investors questioned whether a rally that last week sent the greenback to more than four-month highs had run out of steam.
The dollar index fell 0.09 percent, with the euro up 0.17 percent to $1.1962.
“The momentum behind the dollar move is starting to stall a little bit,” said Mark McCormick, North American head of FX strategy at TD Securities in Toronto.
Yields on key U.S. and European bonds rose after a European Central Bank policymaker Francois Villeroy de Galhau said the ECB could give fresh guidance on the timing it its first rate hike as the end of its bond purchases approaches.
Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last fell 4/32 in price to yield 2.986 percent, from 2.971 percent late on Friday, Benchmark German 10-year bond yields climbed to a 2-1/2-week high.
Oil prices rose as OPEC reported that the global oil glut has been virtually eliminated, while U.S. crude's discount to global benchmark Brent widened to its deepest in nearly five months.
U.S. crude rose 0.34 percent to $70.94 per barrel and Brent was last at $78.16, up 1.35 percent on the day.
(Additional reporting by Karen Brettell in New York, Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru, Kit Rees in London; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Cynthia Osterman)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Updated Date: May 15, 2018 00:05 AM