Stock markets advance, dollar down before Wall Street open

London (AFP) –


Stock markets rose Friday and the dollar fell ahead of the Wall Street open, as investors tracked developments in the drawn-out China-US trade talks.

In a week dominated by trade battles and global monetary policy, European stock markets were higher in afternoon deals following strong gains for Tokyo and Hong Kong -- and after rises Thursday in New York.

In foreign exchange Friday, the dollar fell against the euro, pound and yen, while Turkey's lira held up after a shock hike in the country's interest rate and a dip in US inflation the day before.

After a tumultuous start to the month, investors finally had something to smile about after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday invited Chinese officials for fresh talks to avert an all-out trade war.

The news provided some much-needed support, which was improved on later in the day with data showing US consumer price inflation slid in August, easing pressure on the Federal Reserve to tighten borrowing costs. This though weighed on the dollar.

While the US central bank is expected to lift rates next month, the figures lower the chances of another such move before January and provided a boost to equities on Wall Street.

It gave also some breathing space to emerging markets, which have been battered in recent weeks by fears of contagion from crises in Turkey, Argentina and South Africa.

"Hope springs eternal for emerging markets anytime the US dollar weakens," said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at Oanda trading group.

But Hannah Anderson, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management, warned against being too hopeful, with the US still considering imposing tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports.

"Markets need to separate trade rhetoric and trade actions," she said.

"While heated rhetoric may contribute to the shifting investor expectations we have seen this week, there has been no fundamental change in the state of the US-China trade dispute," Anderson added.

The Chinese economy meanwhile revealed fresh signs of softness Friday, with data showing the pace of investment slowing to record lows, while retail spending and industrial production stabilised.

Beijing faces a delicate balancing act, aiming to shift its growth driver away from investment and exports towards personal consumption, while at the same time battling a mountain of debt.

- Key figures around 1130 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,305.76 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.3 percent at 12,087.85

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 5,346.32

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,339.79

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.2 percent at 23,094.67 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.0 percent at 27,286.41 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 2,681.64 (close)

New York - Dow Jones: UP 0.6 percent at 26,145.99 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1700 from $1.1689 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3122 from $1.3105

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111.85 yen from 111.94 yen

Oil - Brent Crude: UP 13 cents at $78.31 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 37 cents at $68.96 per barrel