Global stocks rise, spurred by hopes for COVID treatment

Tokyo: Global shares were mostly higher Tuesday as investors hung onto hopes the coronavirus pandemic may come under control with vaccines and treatments being developed.

France’s CAC 40 added 0.8% in early trading to 5,048.42, while Germany’s DAX gained 0.6% to 13,146.02. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged 0.1% higher, to 6,111.31. U.S. shares were set for gains, with Dow futures rising 0.5% to 28,380. S&P 500 futures were up 0.4% to 3,439.38.

Few details emerged from a phone meeting held Tuesday by top U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators as part of the Phase 1 truce aimed at ending a tariff war between the two biggest global economies.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said the two sides discussed strengthening coordination of economic policies. Its announcement gave no details.

Markets have floated higher in recent days in anticipation of progress toward a vaccine or effective treatment for the coronavirus pandemic that has hammered economies and killed more than 800,000 people.

The positive coverage on potential COVID-19 vaccines and treatments opens the door wide open to a rotating carousel of stocks, said Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp.

If symptoms of the infection could become as mild as a cough or runny nose, the economy could return to normal, he said.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 1.4% to finish at 23,296.77. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.6% to 2,366.73.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.5% to 6,161.40. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged 0.3% lower to 25,486.22, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.4% to 3,373.58.

Investors are awaiting a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell later this week that he would normally give at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This year’s economic policy symposium will be online due to the pandemic.

Speeches at the annual Jackson Hole event are followed closely and Fed officials sometimes generate market-moving headlines. This year’s event is titled Navigating the Decade Ahead: Implications for Monetary Policy. The rally tracked one overnight on Wall Street, where the S&P 500 gained 1% and added to its all-time high set last week.

Signs that the increase in COVID-19 cases around the world may be gradually slowing are cause for optimism. But the risk of recurring waves of infection remains.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil slipped 9 cents to 42.53 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 28 cents to 42.62 per barrel Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 11 cents to 45.24 a barrel.

The dollar rose to 106.34 Japanese yen from 105.99 yen. The euro climbed to 1.1823 from 1.1791.

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