Stocks recover on US-China trade talks optimism

Can a deal, even a limited one, be delivered?

European and US stock markets rebounded Wednesday, helped by reports that China was open to a partial trade deal with the United States in key talks this week. Stocks had fallen sharply on Tuesday after new US sanctions on Chinese entities prompted a brusque response from Beijing, setting a harsh tone ahead of high-level trade talks due to begin Thursday. But equities in both Europe and New York gained following reports that a pared-down agreement was still possible that could link Beijing to higher agricultural purchases in exchange for a hold on new US tariff measures. "Yesterday it looked like everything was dead and today it seems there's a chance," LBBW's Karl Haeling said of the trade talks. With less than a week to go before the next round of punitive tariffs is due to hit, Beijing's top trade envoy Liu He will Thursday meet US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda trading group, noted that markets have misread the trade tealeaves before. "Traders are jumping at the prospect of good news at the moment but there's been so many false dawns in these negotiations, this may just be the latest," he told AFP. Federal Reserve minutes showed US central bankers have become more anxious over a global slowdown even though the US outlook remains good for the moment. Futures markets expect the Fed to cut interest rates again later this month. Crude oil prices, which had rallied over one percent as Turkey launched an offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Syria, trimmed gains after data showed US oil output at record levels and stocks rising. "It is a little worrying that inventories are rising despite lower prices, as it suggests that demand is weak," said market analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK. Among individual companies, Johnson & Johnson fell two percent after a jury in Pennsylvania ruled the company should pay $8 billion in punitive damages over the psychiatric drug Risperdal. The company said it would appeal. American Airlines jumped 3.1 percent as it said a key benchmark on revenue rose to 2.5 percent from 1.5 percent in the third quarter, indicating strong demand despite a hit from Hurricane Dorian and the continued effect of the grounding of Boeing's 737 MAX planes. American again pushed back the timeframe for resuming flights on the MAX, this time through mid-January. - Key figures around 2050 GMT - New York - Dow: UP 0.7 percent at 26,346.01 (close) New York - S&P 500: UP 0.9 percent at 2,919.40 (close) New York - Nasdaq: UP 1.0 percent at 7,903.74 (close) London - FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,166.50 (close) Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.8 percent at 5,499.14 (close) Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 1.0 percent at 12,094.26 (close) EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.9 percent at 3,459.14 (close) Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2205 from $1.2219 at 2100 GMT Euro/pound: UP at 89.89 pence from 89.67 pence Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0972 from $1.0957 Dollar/yen: UP at 107.49 yen from 107.09 yen Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.6 percent at 21,456.38 (close) Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.8 percent at 25,682.81 (close) Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.4 percent at 2,924.86 (close) Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.1 percent at $58.32 per barrel West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.1 percent at $52.59 per barrel burs-jmb/dg