European stocks look set to open largely unchanged on Thursday as China and the U.S. kicked off two days of trade negotiations in Beijing in a bid to de-escalate a tariff war ahead of a March 1 deadline for a deal.
A report from the South China Morning Post said Chinese President Xi Jinping would meet Washington’s top trade envoys, including Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in Beijing on Friday.
U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China will rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if the two sides don’t reach a deal by then.
Asian markets lacked direction and U.S. stock futures ticked higher after Chinese trade data topped forecasts.
Chinese exports grew 9.1 percent in January from a year earlier, surprising economists who had expected exports to shrink for the second month in a row. Imports declined 1.5 percent.
Gold prices rose after the release of soft U.S. inflation data while the dollar held near three-month highs versus the euro.
Oil prices rose on trade-deal optimism after U.S. President Donald Trump said talks were going “very well”.
U.S. stocks rose overnight as fears over government shutdown and trade war eased and consumer price inflation for January came in broadly in line with expectations.
The upside, however, was contained after Republican Senator Marco Rubio proposed to tax buybacks on equal footing with dividend.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose half a percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.1 percent.
European markets rose for a third day on Wednesday, with optimism about trade talks and well-received earnings updates from the likes of Akzo Nobel, Heineken and Amundi helping underpin investor sentiment.
The pan European Stoxx 600 gained 0.6 percent. The German DAX and France’s CAC 40 index both rose around 0.4 percent while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 advanced 0.8 percent.
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