Stocks surge

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    TOKYO- Asian stocks hit a six-week high on hopes for a thaw in US-China trade frictions and expectations that the European Central Bank would kick off another wave of monetary easing by global central banks.

    MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.4 percent and Japan’s Nikkei stock index rose 0.88 percent. Australian shares were up 0.56 percent.

    Chinese stocks rose and the yuan hit a three-week high after US President Donald Trump agreed to delay an additional increase in tariffs on Chinese goods by two weeks at the request of China’s Vice Premier Liu He “as a gesture of good will.”

    US stock futures jumped 0.42 percent and safe-havens such as the yen, US Treasuries, and gold weakened in a sign of improving appetite for risk.

    “Trump’s comments are likely to put a little juice in the market, but it could be gone tomorrow,” said Hugh Dive, chief investment officer at Atlas Funds Management in Sydney.

    “Some in the market react to small changes in negotiating positions because Trump is negotiating in the open. I’m more concerned about Brexit, because there is some complacency in the EU about this.”

    Oil prices rose in Asia, rebounding from a tumble on Wednesday, on hopes OPEC members will cut output to support prices.

    Any easing of concerns about the bruising trade war is likely to help equities extend their rally this month after a tumultuous August.

    Investors also await an ECB meeting later on Thursday to see how far policymakers will go to support a flagging economy, given the risks posed by Britain’s divorce from the European Union, commonly referred to as Brexit.

    The S&P 500 ended 0.72 percent higher in New York on Wednesday.

    The dollar briefly rose to a six-week high of 108.11 yen before paring gains slightly to trade up 0.17 percent at 108.04 yen. – Reuters