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European equities tread water before key US data

Sep 06 2019 14:04

Europe's main stock markets marked time on Friday before vital US non-farm payrolls data provide a clue to the health of the world's top economy, dealers said.

Asian indices rose after Wall Street had surged on Thursday on news that the United States and China will resume high-level trade talks in October.

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European markets enjoyed mixed fortunes, while the pound held above $1.23 on the increasing prospect that Britain could avoid crashing out of the European Union with no trade deal next month.

"Markets are treading water following (on from) the strength on Wall Street last night," said Richard Hunter, head of markets at trading website Interactive Investor.

"We have still got the complication of Brexit negotiations; clearly it is starting to weigh on sterling again.

"Later today the non-farm payrolls in the US (will) give us some direction about where the US economy is going," he told AFP.

The NFP numbers could also give an idea about the US Federal Reserve's plans for interest rates this year, with observers expecting it to unveil more cuts before the end of December.

Expectations for an extended run of rate reductions has lent much-needed support to markets this year.

Shot in arm 

After a tumultuous August, dealers were given a shot in the arm this week by news that Beijing and Washington are to resume trade talks next month.

New York indices soared after China's commerce ministry said Vice Premier Liu He, Beijing's point man on trade, agreed to October talks in a call with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday.

This week also saw China flag plans for fresh economy-boosting measures, while data out of Washington on Thursday showed August private-sector jobs creation beat the previous month and was higher than expected.

"In recent months, there has been a lot of tough talk from both sides, but the prospect of the two sides sitting down, and holding trade talks has lifted sentiment," said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

"The trade spat has been going on for well over a year, and it is unlikely to be wrapped up soon, but at the moment things are going in the right direction."

A forecast-topping read on the US services sector provided extra joy to investors.

Back in Asia, Hong Kong finished up 0.7%, with dealers seeming to brush off news that Fitch had downgraded its sovereign debt rating citing the sometimes violent protests in the financial hub.

Observers said the region's markets might be able to calm down as China prepares for a week-long holiday to mark the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party's coming to power on October 1.

european markets  |  equities  |  markets


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