Stocks brush off latest trade threats

business August 04, 2018 06:22

By Agence France-Presse
New York

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Global stock markets pushed higher on Friday as a positive US jobs report apparently outweighed the latest escalation of US-China trade threats.



On Wall Street, the Dow and S&P 500 were in positive territory, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was just better than flat.

In Europe, markets in London, Frankfurt and Paris all closed with gains. Drops in the value of the pound and euro helped the business prospects of firms, thus supporting equity values.

Trade tensions ratcheted higher as Beijing warned it was prepared to impose new tariffs on $60 billion worth of US goods if Washington ups the ante in the escalating US-China trade war.

Beijing warned the new duties would be applied if Washington pulled the trigger on President Donald Trump's threat to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

"Traders are worried the tough line that both sides are taking could hurt global growth," said analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK.

However, Maris Ogg of Tower Bridge Advisors said it was surprising that investors had shown so little reaction to the latest fireworks.

"I guess the market is getting used to this back-and-forth with China," she told AFP.

Traders also had the US monthly employment report to ponder, showing US job creation cooled slightly in July, and wage gains were modest, but the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent and the three-month average for new jobs held well above 200,000.

"During the week, the Federal Reserve issued an optimistic outlook on the economy, and suggested there will be two more rate hikes in 2018," said CMC Markets UK's Madden.

"Today's jobs report points to a continuation of the positive momentum in the jobs market, and adds weight to the argument for a hike in September and December," he added.

China ranking hit

Asian indices traded mixed after another painful week as fears of an all-out trade war between Beijing and Washington.

Adding to the pain of recent losses, China's stock market was overtaken as the world's second-biggest by Japan's on Thursday, having been hit by trade war fears and slowing economic growth.

Bloomberg News figures showed Chinese stocks were worth $6.09 trillion, compared with $6.17 trillion in Japan. The US market is worth $31 trillion.

"Investors are paying attention to government policies as the US-China trade war will remain uncertain for now," Yoshihiro Okumura, general manager at Chibagin Asset Management, told AFP in Tokyo.

"On the other hand, Japanese companies are showing strong results in general, sustaining share prices on the Tokyo Stock Exchange."

Key figures at 2100 GMT

New York - Dow Jones: UP 0.6 percent to 25,462.58 points (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.5 percent to 2,840.35 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.1 percent to 7,812.01 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 1.1 percent at 7,659.10 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.6 percent at 12,615.76 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 5,478.98 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5 percent at 3,485.23

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 22,525.18 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 27,676.32 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.0 percent at 2,740.44 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1567 from $1.1585 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3005 from $1.3017

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111.25 yen from 111.66 yen

Oil - Brent Crude: DOWN $0.24 cent at $73.21 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN $0.47 at $68.68