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Business: Global stocks rise as investors eye US-China trade tensions

TOKYO (AP) — Global markets are higher as investors watch developments in the simmering trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 gained 0.7 percent to 5,300.12 in early trading, while Germany’s DAX added 1.1 percent to 12,397.45. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.3 percent to 7,218.11. U.S. shares were also set to drift higher with the future for the Dow industrial average surging 1.1 percent to 24,279. The future for the S&P 500 climbed 1.1 percent to 2,647.70.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.5 percent to finish at 21,794.32. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.8 percent to 5,857.00. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.3 percent to 2,450.74. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.7 percent to 30,728.74, while the Shanghai Composite rose 1.7 percent to 3,190.32.

TRADE WORRIES: Indexes have been fluctuating as investors try to guess the outcome of the U.S.-China trade dispute. President Donald Trump continued to bash America’s trade deals on Twitter, but said the U.S. and China could settle their dispute. Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday promised to cut China’s auto import tariffs and ease restrictions on foreign ownership in its auto industry in comments analysts said could signal a somewhat conciliatory stance.

THE QUOTE: “Investor sentiment is pinballing between two key themes. Trade wars vs trade negotiations, and the broader improving growth vs rising interest rates. Current sentiment is positive, although Asia Pacific futures markets are flattish after anticipatory gains yesterday,” Michael McCarthy of CMC Markets said in a commentary.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 82 cents to $64.24 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $1.36, or 2.2 percent, to $63.42 a barrel overnight. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 92 cents to $69.57 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 106.96 yen from 107.12 late Monday. The euro rose to $1.2323 from $1.2275.

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– Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Tuesday, April 10:

1. China’s Xi Soothes Trade War Concerns

Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to open the country’s economy further and lower import tariffs on products including cars, helping soothe investor jitters over an escalating U.S.-China trade row.

Speaking at the Boao Forum for Asia, Xi also said that China will improve market access for foreign investors, while pledging to enforce the legal intellectual property of foreign firms, a major point of contention for U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.

The remarks helped soothe investor jitters over the ongoing tit-for-tat tariff dispute between the U.S. and China, which investors had feared might escalate into a full-blown trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

2. U.S. Stock Futures Rally Hard After Xi’s Speech

U.S. stock futures pointed to strong gains at the open, as appetite for riskier assets improved after a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping eased concerns about a trade conflict between the United States and China.

The blue-chip Dow futures rallied 260 points, or around 1.1%, the S&P 500 futures rose 28 points, or about 1.1%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 99 points, or roughly 1.5%.

Stocks were higher most of Monday but turned in the final hour as selling accelerated into the close following reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the office of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Elsewhere, in Europe, the continent’s major bourses advanced in mid-morning trade, led higher by gains among automakers.

Earlier, in Asia, most of the bourses in the region closed higher, as investor confidence picked up.

3. Oil Prices Jump More Than 1% As U.S.-China Spat Eases

Oil prices rose more than 1%, extending strong gains from the previous session, on hopes a trade dispute between the U.S. and China may be resolved without greater damage to the global economy.

New York-traded WTI crude futures rose 1.4% to $64.31 per barrel, while Brent futures tacked on almost 1.5% to $69.64 per barrel.

Both benchmarks reached their best levels since April 2 earlier in the session.

Oil traders looked ahead to fresh data on U.S. commercial crude inventories from the American Petroleum Institute due at 4:30PM ET (2030GMT) to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.

Market players are also keeping an eye on developments out of Syria. U.S. President Donald Trump promised a “major response” within 24 to 48 hours to an alleged chemical attack in Syria, which he said could be the work of the Syrian government, Iran, Russia or all three.

4. Tech Stocks On Watch As Zuckerberg Faces Senate Hearing

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to appear before a joint hearing of the U.S. Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees this morning.

He is confronting combined outrage over how Russia used Facebook to spread divisive political propaganda during the 2016 U.S. presidential election and how Facebook seemed unaware that a political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, improperly harvested personal data of about 87 million Facebook users, most of them Americans.

Facebook and other social media stocks could be affected by the tone of senators grilling Zuckerberg as well as by his answers.

Analysts said a concern for Facebook, as well as other companies such as Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) or Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), is that there could be overreach as regulators try to rein them in, as well as a defection of advertisers.

Zuckerberg also appears before Congress on Wednesday.

5. Inflation Data In Focus

Tuesday’s calendar features top-tier U.S. data on inflation. The Commerce Department will publish producer price inflation figures for March at 8:30AM ET (1230GMT).

Market analysts expect producer prices to inch up 0.1%, weakening from February’s 0.2% increase, while core PPI is forecast to rise 0.2%, the same as its rise a month earlier.

Consumer inflation data is released Wednesday.

Rising inflation would be a catalyst to push the Federal Reserve toward raising interest rates at a faster pace than currently expected.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was little changed at 89.52, following a drop of 0.3% on Monday.

In the bond market, the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield inched up to around 2.803%.

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