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RPT-GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks pin hopes on U.S.-China trade talks after brutal year
Reuters31/12/2018 à 15:01

 (Repeats to additional clients; no change in text.)
    * Trump claims progress in trade talk with Xi 
    * Almost all European and Asian share indices deep red for
year
    * Biggest loser was China blue chips, India a rare gainer
    * Oil and commodities nudge higher after heavy wipe outs
    * Graphic: World FX rates in 2018 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

    par Marc Jones
    LONDON, Dec 31 (Reuters) - World share and commodity prices
rose on Monday as hints of progress on the U.S.-China trade
standoff provided a glimmer of optimism in what has been a
punishing 2018 for markets globally.
    Europe's STOXX 600  .STOXX  followed Asia's lead to push 0.4
percent higher and Wall Street futures were up 1 percent  .N  as
traders tried to overcome the worst year for equities
 .MIWD00000PUS  since the 2008 financial crisis.  
    Sentiment had improved when U.S. President Donald Trump
tweeted that he held a "very good call" with China's President
Xi Jinping on Saturday to discuss trade and claimed "big
progress" was being made.
    The Wall Street Journal reported the White House was
pressing China for more details of how it might increase U.S.
exports and loosen regulations that stifle U.S. companies there.
    Chinese state media were more reserved, saying Xi hoped the
negotiating teams could meet each other half-way and reach an
agreement that was mutually beneficial.  
    Economic data out of China was also unhelpfully mixed, with
manufacturing activity contracting for the first time in two
years, although the service sector improved.  
 
    MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares  .MIAPJ0000PUS 
managed a 0.6 percent gain, but it was still down 16 percent for
the year. A sub-index of top Chinese companies  .CSI300  lost 
more than a quarter of its value.  .SS 
    The story was much the same across the globe, with most
major stock indices deep in the red.
    Paris  .FCHI  made a respectable 1 percent on the day, but
London's FTSE  .FTSE  fell flat again. They are down 11 and 12
percent for the year respectively. Germany's export-heavy DAX
 .GDAXI  has had it worse, losing more than 18 percent of its
value.
    E-Mini futures for Wall Street's S&P 500  ESc1  had gained
0.8 percent ahead of U.S. trading.  .N  The index  .SPX  is off
almost 10 percent for December, its worst month since February
2009, down 15 percent for the quarter and 7 percent for the
year.
    "Simply looking at the markets would suggest that the global
economy is headed into recession," said Robert Michele, chief
investment officer and head of fixed income at J.P. Morgan Asset
Management.
    "However, while we agree the global economy is in a growth
slowdown, we don't see an impending recession," he said, in part
because the Federal Reserve could provide a policy cushion.
    "Already, commentary out of the Fed suggests that it is
nearing the end of a three-year journey to normalise policy,"
argued Michele.    
    
    NO MORE HIKES
    Indeed, Fed fund futures  0#FF:  have now largely priced out
any rate increase for next year and now imply a quarter-point
cut by mid-2020.
    The Treasury market clearly thinks the Fed is done. Yields
on two-year debt  US2YT=RR  have fallen to just 2.52 percent
from a peak of 2.977 percent in November.
    The $15.5 trillion market is heading for its biggest monthly
rally in 2 1/2 years, according to an index compiled by
Bloomberg and Barclays.
    European bond markets were closed on Monday, but the drop in
U.S. yields has undermined the dollar in recent weeks. Against a
basket of currencies  .DXY , it was on track to end December
with a loss of 0.8 percent but remained up on the year.
    The dollar has also had a tough month against the yen. It
lost 2.8 percent this month and was last trading at just under
110  JPY= . However, 2018 was mostly stable for the pair,
trading all year in a range of 104.55 to 114.54.
    The euro was on track to end the month higher at $1.1450
 EUR=  but nursing losses of almost 5 percent over the year.
Sterling made a last push to $1.28  GBP= , but Brexit woes have
cost it more than 5 percent.  /FRX 
    That was trivial compared with the drop in oil prices
--Brent crude  LCOc1  is down almost 40 percent since its peak
in October. It was last up $1.22 cents at $54.40 a barrel but
down 20 percent for the year. U.S. crude futures  CLc1  nudged
up 96 cents to $46.29.
    Gold rallied almost 5 percent in the past month to stand at
$1,283 an ounce  XAU= .
    Copper, aluminium, zinc and nickel, however, were all down
17 to 26 percent this year. The industrial metals are sensitive
to China's economy, which consumes almost half the global
supply.
    "The supply side is tight, but my fear is that with demand
weakening it will offset all these supply concerns so we could
see inventories begin to pick up," said INTL FCStone analyst
Edward Meir.

    <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Global markets in 2018    https://tmsnrt.rs/2AmRgNB
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^>
 (Reporting by Marc Jones, editing by Larry King)
 
 

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