Global markets steady

11 Jan 2020

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LONDON: Global stock markets consolidated recent gains on Friday, comforted by an easing of geopolitical tensions and a looming US-China trade deal which allowed investors to shrug off mild disappointment sparked by a weaker-than-expected American jobs report.

The US economy generated 145,000 new jobs in December, around 20,000 short of consensus forecasts, a relatively minor miss.

“Stocks were unperturbed as the slightly softer than expected jobs data and weaker wage data confirmed the Fed’s stance that the economy is still ‘in a good place’ and that we will likely continue to see a low interest rate environment in 2020,” said Edward Moya at Oanda.

On Wall Street, where stocks had jumped to new records Thursday, the DJIA index was a touch lower in the late morning after opening unchanged.

“The continued fading of recently ramped-up geopolitical concerns and expectations of a signed US-China ‘phase one’ trade deal next week are appearing to help counter a softer-than-expected December non-farm payroll report,” said analysts at Charles Schwab.

Earlier, most Asian stock markets closed higher but investors struggled to maintain a rally triggered by easing US-Iran tensions the previous day.

The toning down of rhetoric from US President Donald Trump and Tehran following an Iranian missile attack on US assets in Iraq soothed concerns about a possible conflict in the Middle East and lit a fire under global equities on Thursday.

That allowed dealers to resume a buying spree that had characterised business for the past few weeks, cheered by China and the United States reaching a trade deal, central banks easing monetary policy and data pointing to an improved global outlook.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2020