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Global Shares Pause Ahead of U.S.-China Trade Talks

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01/07/2019 | 08:32am EDT

By Will Horner and Joanne Chiu

Global stocks were mixed Monday, with European indexes faltering despite strong gains in Asia, as investors turned their attention to U.S.-China trade talks and persistent concerns over economic growth.

U.S. stock futures pointed to opening declines of 0.2% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500, and a 0.4% drop for the Nasdaq Composite.

In Europe, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.5% in midday trade. Germany's Xetra DAX and France's CAC 40 were both down 0.6%.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 was down 0.7% as investors there awaited a parliamentary debate, set to begin this week, on the nation's fraught departure from the European Union.

The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury note on Monday fell to 2.647%, from 2.661% on Friday. Yields and prices move in opposite directions. The U.S. dollar softened, with the WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the dollar against a basket of 16 of its peers, down 0.2%.

In Asia, equities made strong gains. Japan's Nikkei 225 led the rally, rising 2.4%, helped by a calmer yen, which steadied at 108.21 a dollar. South Korea's Kospi climbed 1.4%, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 benchmark rose 1.1% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.8%.

China's Shanghai Composite advanced 0.7%. It rallied 2.1% Friday ahead of a well-flagged move by the People's Bank of China to add a net 800 billion yuan ($116.48 billion) of liquidity into the banking system by cutting banks' reserve requirements.

The strong climbs in Asia followed a stock surge on Wall Street Friday, after better-than-expected U.S. nonfarm payroll figures suggested a healthy labor market and eased investors' concerns about the potential for a U.S. economic slowdown. Comments later that day from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell--who said economic data suggested good momentum heading into the new year--added a further boost to see the Dow industrials close nearly 750 points higher, or 3.3%.

The positive employment figures were "a piece of good news in what has been a pretty grim set of economic data for some time now," said Peter Dixon, economist at Commerzbank, noting that investors' concerns around global growth and the U.S.-China trade dispute remained.

"Today is probably the first full trading day of the year and I suspect that this is going to set the tone for the next few sessions," Mr. Dixon said. "Many of the risks that were there last year still remain on the table."

Market participants were awaiting news from the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

Felix Lam, a portfolio manager at BNP Paribas Asset Management, said policy makers in the U.S. and China had helped lift market sentiment, but the key question was whether the two countries could reach a trade deal. "Any positive outcome from the trade talks would have a more long-lasting impact on the earnings trajectory of corporations in Asia," he said, adding delays would hit corporate profits.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Theresa May is widely expected to lose a vote next week on her planned Brexit deal.

Lawmakers will debate the deal this week with some potentially crucial amendments expected, said analysts at UniCredit. They added, however, that they expect the deal to pass on a second or third attempt at a vote.

"If, however, there remains an impasse in the U.K. parliament at the 11th hour, then a [second Brexit] referendum...could become the only way out of the mire, but we are not there yet."

In commodities, Brent crude advanced 2.2% to $58.31 a barrel. Gold was up 0.5% to $1,290.80 an ounce.

Write to Joanne Chiu at joanne.chiu@wsj.com

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
CAC 40 -2.03% 5269.92 Real-time Quote.13.70%
CHINA-SHANGHAI COMP 0.09% 3104.15 End-of-day quote.24.27%
DAX -1.61% 11364.17 Delayed Quote.7.63%
DJ INDUSTRIAL -1.77% 25502.32 Delayed Quote.9.32%
FTSE 100 INDEX 0.28% 7234.11 End-of-day quote.0.00%
HANG SENG 0.13% 29092.95 Real-time Quote.12.56%
KOSPI COMPOSITE INDEX 0.14% 2185.52 Real-time Quote.7.05%
NASDAQ 100 -2.23% 7326.056662 Delayed Quote.18.38%
NASDAQ COMP. -2.50% 7642.666882 Delayed Quote.18.14%
NIKKEI 225 0.09% 21627.34 Real-time Quote.7.96%
S&P 500 -1.90% 2800.71 Delayed Quote.11.72%
S&P/ASX 200 0.45% 6195.2 Real-time Quote.9.22%
US DOLLAR INDEX 0.05% 96.55 End-of-day quote.-0.14%
WTI -1.82% 58.84 Delayed Quote.32.33%
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