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Stocks rise on trade hopes, dollar gains on risk appetite

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar strengthened and global stock markets rallied on Monday on signs the United States and China could soon end a damaging trade war as well as indications the world may yet dodge an economic recession.

The three major U.S. stock indexes set record intraday highs and MSCI’s gauge of equity performance across the globe rose to less than 2% from an all-time peak set in January 2018.

Beijing and Washington spoke Friday of progress in the trade talks and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Sunday licenses for U.S. companies to sell components to China’s Huawei Technologies Co will come “very shortly.”

Gold edged lower while the dollar gained on higher risk appetite due to trade hopes, which were bolstered after Ross said there was no reason a trade deal could not be on track to be signed this month.

A generally upbeat U.S. employment report on Friday also added to optimism the U.S. economy, while slowing, was not headed toward a recession.

“Market trends are being influenced by a better risk mood overall,” said Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto.

European shares rallied more than 1%, reaching their highest level since January 2018. The STOXX 600 index of small, mid-sized and large companies across Europe surged to highs last seen in July 2015.

Tariff-exposed European miners .SXPP gained 3.3% while auto stocks .SXAP rose 2.9%. The rally was also led by reports Fiat Chrysler (FCHA.MI) and Peugeot owner PSA (PEUP.PA) aimed to sign a final merger agreement as early as next month.

Earlier, the positive mood on trade had sent Asian stocks surging, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS up 1.2%.

Technology stocks pushed Wall Street to fresh record highs as the Philadelphia Semiconductor index .SOX hit a new high, up 1.7%.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.59% while its emerging markets rose 1.44%.

“Signing these deals take time. All that is needed for markets to be happy right now is for an agreement to be announced,” said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 144.86 points, or 0.53%, to 27,492.22. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 15.03 points, or 0.49%, to 3,081.94 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 45.50 points, or 0.54%, to 8,431.90.

The euro slipped as investors awaited Christine Lagarde’s first speech as European Central Bank president. But the single currency remained near its highest levels in weeks after Ross said in the interview that Washington may not slap tariffs on imported vehicles after “good conversations” with automakers in the European Union, Japan and Korea.

The dollar index .DXY rose 0.18%, with the euro EUR= down 0.19% to $1.1144. The Japanese yen JPY= weakened 0.36% versus the greenback at 108.58 per dollar.

Euro zone and U.S. bond yields rose on optimism a U.S.-China trade deal appeared near.

Data on Monday showed morale among investors in the euro zone jumped in November to its highest level since June.

Germany’s benchmark 10-year Bund yield was at -0.35% DE10YT=RR while the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note US10YT=RR fell 18/32 in price to push its yield up to 1.7893%.

Oil prices crept up, with Brent reaching its highest in more than a month on growing expectations of a U.S.-China trade deal and Iran flagging OPEC discussions over a deeper output cut next month.

Brent crude futures for January LCOc1 rose $1.04 to $62.73 a barrel. December U.S. crude futures CLc1 also swung back into positive territory, up 95 cents at $57.15 a barrel.

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