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Wednesday September 23rd, 2020 5:59AM

Global shares advance amid hopes for US-China trade deal

By The Associated Press
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TOKYO (AP) — Global shares rose Monday amid some optimism that the U.S. and China may be edging closer toward a deal on a trade dispute that has been rattling markets for more than a year.

Over the weekend, Beijing issued new guidelines for protecting intellectual property, a key concern for foreign investors and a sore point in the dispute with Washington over trade and technology.

Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.9% to 7,394, while France’s CAC 40 added 0.4% in midday trading to 5,915. Germany’s DAX gained 0.4% to 13,221 after a survey showed that German business confidence has increased slightly.

U.S. shares were set to drift higher with Dow futures adding 0.3% to 27,931 and S&P 500 futures rising 0.2% to 3,119.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 surged 0.8% to finish at 23,292.81, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3% to 6,731.40. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.0% to 2,123.50. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.5% to 26,993.04, while the Shanghai Composite advanced 0.7% to 2,906.17.

Investors were watching the situation in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy candidates won a majority of seats in a local district council election Sunday. After nearly six months of often violent protests, it is yet another challenge for Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s government.

“The result might not be market-friendly as it sets to challenge Carrie Lam’s leadership and bring up political uncertainties. But it could also mark a turning point in stopping the violent clashes,” said Margaret Yang, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore.

Markets around the world churned last week on uncertainty about whether the U.S. and China can soon halt their trade dispute, or at least stop it from escalating.

Tariffs already put in place have hurt manufacturing around the world, and businesses have held back on spending given all the uncertainty about where the rules of global trade will end up.

New U.S. tariffs are set to hit Dec. 15 on many Chinese-made items on holiday shopping lists, such as smartphones and laptops.

A document issued Sunday called for China to “effectively curb” violations of intellectual property rights such as trademarks and copyrights.

The guidelines ordered improvements to laws for protecting such intellectual property, increased compensation for infringements and stricter enforcement of existing laws.

Theft and forced transfers of technology and inadequate protection of copyrights, patents and trademarks are perennial complaints of foreign companies operating in China and are among the key issues in the latest flareup in trade tensions.

President Donald Trump said last week that a deal is “potentially very close” after Chinese President Xi Jinping said Beijing is working to “try not to have a trade war,” but will nevertheless fight back if necessary.

In corporate news, shares in Uber fell about 6% in premarket after London’s transit authority refused to renew the San Francisco company’s license to operate there over passenger safety concerns. Uber vowed to appeal the decision, which it called “extraordinary and wrong.” The ride-hailing company has 21 days to file an appeal and can continue operating while the appeals process is under way.

Two blockbuster mergers got Thanksgiving week off to a rousing start Monday morning. Shares of Tiffany & Co. rose nearly 6% in premarket trading after Paris-based LVMH said it was acquiring the iconic New York jeweler for $16.2 billion. In another massive deal, Charles Schwab said it would buy rival TD Ameritrade in a $26 billion stock swap. With brokerages facing competitive pressure to make it free for customers to trade U.S. stocks online, Schwab’s buyout combines two of the biggest players in the industry, with a combined $5 trillion in client assets. The deal could draw sharp scrutiny from antitrust regulators.

ENERGY: Benchmark crude lost 9 cents to $57.68 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell 81 cents to $57.77 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, dropped $1.06 to $62.33 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 108.88 Japanese yen from 108.64 yen on Friday. The euro slipped to $1.1017 from $1.1022.

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