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Global Stocks Tick Higher on China Stimulus

Global markets edged up on Monday after China late Friday undertook stimulus measures as data showed its economy has been pressured by trade tensions with the U.S.

China’s central bank cut lenders’ reserve requirement ratios, a move that could free up 900 billion yuan ($126 billion) to finance projects that might spur construction and sustain employment.

The gains in mainland Chinese stocks were capped, however, as the weak trade data offset the stimulus measures. The Shanghai Composite Index stood 0.8% higher by midafternoon.

Elsewhere in the region, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose about 0.5%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 were little changed.

In Europe, stocks posted mild gains, with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.1% in opening trade. Germany’s DAX rose 0.3%, and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 gained 0.5%.

The rises came after U.S. stocks on Friday also posted small gains following a weaker-than-expected jobs report that lifted investor hopes for an interest-rate cut from the Federal Reserve.

Data released at the weekend showed that Chinese imports fell for a fourth straight month in August, as a drop-off in exports to the U.S. steepened, highlighting the impact of the two countries’ prolonged trade spat.

Larry Hu, China economist at Macquarie Group, said the central bank move was “too little, too late.” The lower reserve requirements would have a limited impact on the economy and policy makers are set to do more in the coming months, he said in a note.

Still, the move seems to have brought optimism to investors. “The People’s Bank of China’s determination to fight the economic slowdown encouraged investors to buy stocks on Monday open, but gains remained timid,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at London Capital Group.

The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasurys rose to 1.582%, from 1.552% on Friday. Yields rise when prices fall.

European government bond yields rose across the board. The Italian 10-year yield rose to 0.908% from 0.885% Friday. The German 10-year bund was yielding minus 0.616%, up from minus 0.634% before the weekend.

In currencies, the British pound was down 0.3% against the U.S. dollar at $1.2245. The pound last week fell briefly below $1.20 amid U.K. political turbulence, before recovering slightly amid signs that a no-deal Brexit would be avoided. The queen is expected to sign a bill that would prevent Prime Minister Boris Johnson from pursuing a break from the European Union without a deal in place.

In commodities, Brent crude oil rose 0.9% to $62.06 a barrel after Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman appointed Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, an experienced oil official and son of the country’s king, as head of the powerful energy ministry. Prince Abdulaziz is expected to continue OPEC’s efforts to bolster energy prices by cutting production.
Source: Dow Jones

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