Risk appetite improved across global markets as investor concern about a potential global trade war appeared to ease. European stocks followed Asian peers higher as core government bonds fell and the dollar strengthened.
Futures for the S&P 500 Index also climbed as traders spooked by tit-for-tat trade threats took solace from suggestions President Donald Trump’s tariff plan will spare select countries. In Europe, food and beverage and telecom companies were among the biggest gainers as the Stoxx Europe 600 Index nudged toward a fourth day rising. The euro dropped ahead of the European Central Bank’s policy decision on Thursday, while peripheral bonds defied broader declines as Italy moved closer to forming a government.
The specter of a global trade war has had markets on edge this week, as Trump’s threats of steel and aluminum tariffs were met with talk of retaliation in China and Europe. Attention now turns back to central banks, with investors homing in on commentary from the ECB on Thursday before the Bank of Japan concludes its policy meeting Friday.
“If you look at the global economic backdrop the world still looks relatively good,” JPMorgan Asset Management Australia Chief Executive Officer Rachel Farrell told Bloomberg Television. “Long term we really look at fundamentals and fundamentals across the world are actually quite strong.”
Elsewhere, Bitcoin steadied around the $10,000 mark after dropping on Wednesday in the face of fresh pressure from U.S. regulators. Crude oil traded near $61 a barrel as a Bloomberg gauge of commodities slid for a second day.
Here are some key events coming up this week:
The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference runs through March 15 and overlaps with the National People’s Congress meetings in Beijing, through March 20. The ECB isn’t expected to change policy on Thursday, but the Governing Council may discuss a change to pave the way for the end of quantitative easing. BOJ monetary policy decision and briefing on Friday. U.S. monthly payrolls data come Friday.
And these are the main moves in markets:
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.2 percent as of 11:18 a.m. London time to the highest in a week. The MSCI All-Country World Index gained 0.1 percent to the highest in more than a week. Futures on the S&P 500 Index increased 0.1 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index climbed less than 0.05 percent. The MSCI Emerging Market Index jumped 0.6 percent to the highest in more than a week.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed 0.2 percent, the biggest increase in more than a week. The euro sank 0.3 percent to $1.2376, the first retreat in more than a week. The British pound decreased 0.1 percent to $1.3877, the first retreat in more than a week. The Mexican peso dipped 0.2 percent to 18.7526 per dollar.
The Bloomberg Commodity Index fell 0.3 percent to the lowest in more than three weeks. West Texas Intermediate crude dipped 0.1 percent to $61.08 a barrel, the lowest in a week. Gold climbed less than 0.05 percent to $1,325.77 an ounce. LME aluminum rose 0.3 percent to $2,103.50 per metric ton, the largest advance in a week. — Bloomberg