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Monday February 17th, 2020 10:04PM

Global stocks surge after Trump acquitted, China virus aid

By The Associated Press
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Global stocks rose Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump was acquitted in an impeachment trial and China cut tariffs on U.S. imports and provided aid to businesses reeling from a virus outbreak.

European markets were up modestly, while Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul rose more than 2%. Wall Street futures pointed to gains on the open.

Markets also were boosted by strong U.S. corporate earnings. Twitter was the latest to provide an upbeat report - its shares were up 8% in premarket trading after a bigger than expected rise in user numbers and revenue.

The good news from corporate reports helped to dampen fears about the impact of sweeping Chinese efforts to contain a viral disease that closed factories, restaurants and shops as the death toll rose.

“The markets are not only holding up, but they're going up!” said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp in a report. “To suggest risk appetite continues to ‘creep’ back in favor might be the biggest understatement of the week.”

Trump was acquitted after a rare trial before the U.S. Senate on charges of abuse of office following accusations he pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, a potential rival in this year's presidential election.

China announced tariff cuts on $75 billion of U.S. imports including auto parts in response to similar American reductions in a trade truce. That followed the signing of the “Phase 1” agreement in their fight over Beijing's technology ambitions and trade surplus.

Meanwhile, Chinese state TV said the government will cut value-added taxes and offer low-interest loans to help businesses weather a downturn caused by anti-virus measures that have depressed travel, retail sales and other industries.

Thailand's central bank cut its benchmark lending rate this week to help the country weather the loss of Chinese tourists. Brazil, a supplier of iron ore, soybeans and other commodities to China, also announced a rate cut.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 advanced 0.3% to 7,505 and Frankfurt's DAX gained 0.7% to 13,572. France's CAC 40 added 0.7% to 6,026.

On Wall Street, the futures for the benchmark S&P 500 index and for the Dow Jones Industrial Average both gained 0.4%. On Wednesday, the S&P 500 rose 1.1% to a record and the Dow climbed 1.7%.

In Asia on Thursday, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 jumped 2.4% to 23,873.59 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 2.6% to 27,493.70. South Korea's Kospi rallied 2.9% to 2,227.94.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.7% to 2,866.51 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 added 1% to 7,049.20.

The impact of China's anti-virus measures on the second-largest global economy is unclear. Many stores, restaurants and cinemas are closed in an effort to reduce the risk the infection might spread. Companies are warning of lower revenue and profit.

Tesla Inc. plunged 17.2% on reports production at its Shanghai factory will be delayed. The company warned investors last week delays were possible.

Investors got encouraging news about the U.S. economy when payroll processor ADP said Wednesday private U.S. companies added 291,000 jobs in January, a big increase from December.

The Institute for Supply Management said its index of business activity by service sector companies increased in January, an indicator of economic expansion.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 30 cents to $51.05 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract advanced $1.14 on Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 3 cents to $55.25 per barrel in London. It added $1.32 the previous session.

The dollar advanced to 109.88 yen from Wednesday's 109.82 yen. The euro was stable at $1.0998.

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