Mixed corporate earnings offset progress in China-US trade talks - GulfToday

Mixed corporate earnings offset progress in China-US trade talks

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Currency traders work at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday. Associated Press

European shares eked out small gains on Tuesday as talk of progress in China-US trade talks was offset by mixed corporate earnings, while sterling held below $1.30 ahead of another crucial Brexit vote.

In choppy trading, the broad European STOXX reversed course and added 0.09%, and MSCI’s world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up 0.05%.

French speciality minerals company Imerys slipped 11.8% after cutting its outlook for 2019, and Norway’s Aker BP moved 1.7% lower as it slashed its full-year oil output target.

British household goods maker Reckitt Benckiser was stranded at the base of the STOXX index with a 5.5% fall after it cut its full-year sales forecast for the second time this year.

In Switzerland, drugmaker Novartis raised its 2019 target and reported better-than-expected revenue, while Apple supplier AMS slipped 3.7%, reversing an earlier rise as demand from smartphone makers boosted operating profit.

UBS was one of the top gainers among banking stocks after Switzerland’s biggest bank reported a smaller than expected loss in quarterly profit.

Swedish defence firm Saab gained as much as 7% to lead the STOXX 600 after reporting third-quarter operating earnings well ahead of market forecasts and affirming its view that operating cashflow this year would improve versus 2018.

“This week is an important week for earnings,” said Andrew Milligan, head of global strategy at Aberdeen Standard Investments. “We’ve seen a lot of talk on Brexit and trade talks and the new news is the earnings and the signal they give for the future. We’ve broadly priced in that earnings will be slightly positive for the year, but everyone is seeing how monetary policy stabilises the situation.” E-Mini futures for the S&P 500, up 0.13%, pointed to a higher opening on Wall Street.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added a modest 0.4%, with a holiday in Tokyo keeping turnover light.

China and the United States have achieved some progress in their trade talks, Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said on Tuesday, adding that as long as both sides respected each other, no problem could not be resolved.

US President Donald Trump sounded upbeat on a China deal on Monday, while White House adviser Larry Kudlow said tariffs on Chinese goods scheduled for December could be withdrawn if talks go well.

Meanwhile, eurozone government bonds dipped before votes in Britain’s parliament crucial to determining whether the country can leave the EU in an orderly way at the end of the month.

Ten-year government bond yields across the eurozone were down 1 basis point on the day,,. Germany’s 10-year yield was at -0.35%, near three-month highs.

After he was forced by opponents into asking the EU for a delay that he had promised he would never request, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is battling to push legislation through the House of Commons that will enact his last-minute Brexit deal. Lawmakers vote around 1800 GMT on the 115-page Withdrawal Agreement Bill and then vote on the government’s extremely tight timetable for approving the legislation.

Sterling added 0.1% at $1.2968 in early London trading. Against the euro, it fell 0.1% and was last trading at 0.85910.

“If the House of Commons votes in favour of the deal, GBP/USD could rally towards $1.3500 over the medium term. The UK would then enter a transition period that lasts until 31 December 2020,” said Kim Mundy, a currency strategist at CBA.

The Canadian dollar was little changed as the ruling Liberal government of Justin Trudeau held on to power, but with a minority government after a closely fought election.

In commodity markets, spot gold inched 0.2% higher to $1,487.63 per ounce.Oil prices rose on Tuesday after China signalled progress in trade talks with the United States, but gains were capped by bearish forecasts of a buildup in US crude stockpiles. Brent crude oil was up 30 cents at $59.26 a barrel by 1215 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude was 26 cents higher at $53.57 per barrel. China and the United States have achieved some progress in their trade talks, Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said on Tuesday, and any problems could be resolved as long as both sides respected each other.

“While the encouraging mood across financial markets will remain stimulated by trade optimism, risk aversion could still make an abrupt return should talks drag on or turn sour,” said Lukman Otunuga, analyst at FXTM.

The International Monetary Fund last week forecast that fallout from the US-China trade war and trade disputes across the world would slow global growth in 2019 to 3.0%, the weakest in a decade.

Lower economic growth typically means reduced demand for commodities such as oil.

Prices were also pressured by forecasts of a buildup in US crude stockpiles. Inventories are expected to have risen for a sixth straight week, while distillates and gasoline stocks likely fell in the week to Oct. 18, a Reuters poll showed.

The poll was conducted ahead of reports from the American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group, and the Energy Information Administration (EIA), an agency of the US Department of Energy.

“Expectations that the API and EIA will report that US crude oil inventories increased by around 3 million barrels over the last week certainly do not help sentiment,” ING analyst Warren Patterson said.

Agencies