Stocks ahead on hopes of US-China trade war resolution

London, Sept 20 (AFP/APP):European and US stock markets advanced Friday, mirroring gains in much of Asia on hopes of progress in looming China-US trade talks, dealers said.

In afternoon trading, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 0.1 percent, while Frankfurt was marginally higher and Paris won 0.4 percent.

Wall Street opened higher, with the Dow edging up 0.1 percent.

The pound slid despite European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker’s apparent hint that a Brexit deal was still possible, with Britain due to leave the European Union at the end of next month.

“Stocks markets are muted in Europe… as traders are keeping an eye on US-China trade relations,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

With a delegation from China in the US to prepare for higher-level negotiations next month, investors hope the economic giants can find a solution to their tariffs row that has been a drag on the global economy for a year.

US stocks jump on China trade talks announcement

Stock markets have enjoyed a broadly positive September thanks to hopes for the talks, with both sides appearing to offer olive branches and sounding less confrontational than they did in July and August.

Equities remain supported by central bank shifts towards easier monetary policy, although there was some disappointment in the Federal Reserve’s lack of forward guidance this week for further interest rate cuts.

London sentiment was buoyed Friday after Royal Bank of Scotland appointed long-serving banker Alison Rose as chief executive, making her the first female boss of a major UK lender.

The news sent RBS shares jumping 4.2 percent higher to stand at 216.7 pence.

On the downside, Rolls-Royce shares sank almost 2.4 percent to 790.4 pence after revealing that it was taking longer then expected to fix its troubled Trent 1000 plane engines.

– Eyes on Middle East –

Traders meanwhile kept an eye on the Gulf region after last weekend’s strikes on Saudi oil facilities fanned geopolitical tensions.

Devastating strikes crippled two of Saudi Arabia’s biggest oil plants on Saturday and sent the price of crude soaring on Monday.

Both main contracts then stabilised this week after the initial shock but there are worries of a possible conflict after the US and Saudi Arabia pointed the finger at Iran and said they were considering their response.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned Thursday that any military strike on the country could lead to “all-out war”.

– Key figures around 1330 GMT –

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,366.45 points
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP less than 0.1 percent at 12,460.25
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 5,679.36
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 3,567.98
New York – Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 27,128.61
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 22,079.09 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 26,435.67 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.2 percent at 3,006.45 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1016 from $1.1041 at 2100 GMT
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 107.96 yen from 108.02 yen
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2471 from $1.2526
Euro/pound: UP at 88.32 pence from 88.15 pence
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.9 percent at $64.95 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.4 percent at $58.93

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