Trade hopes buoy stocks, Brexit setback hits pound

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock markets around the world moved higher on Friday following signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks, while the British pound fell after lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit agreement for the third time.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Improved risk sentiment helped buoy benchmark U.S. yields as demand decreased for safe-haven bonds.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.64 percent and tallied its biggest quarterly percentage rise since 2010, rising 11.6 percent.

The United States and China said they made progress in trade talks that concluded on Friday in Beijing that Washington called “candid and constructive” as the world’s two largest economies try to resolve a nearly nine-month trade war.

The White House said it looked forward to the visit to Washington next week by a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He.

“The trade story has been the undercurrent of the market movement for the last six months,” said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at North Star Investment Management. “When the tide is rolling in, as if there is going to be a nice trade deal coming to shore, the market rises.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 211.22 points, or 0.82 percent, to 25,928.68, the S&P 500 gained 18.96 points, or 0.67 percent, to 2,834.4 and the Nasdaq Composite added 60.16 points, or 0.78 percent, to 7,729.32.

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In a closely watched initial public offering, shares of ride-hailing company Lyft Inc rose 8.7 percent in their market debut.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.60 percent.

European asset prices were rattled, with the pound weakening against the dollar, after lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a third time, leaving Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union in turmoil.

In the U.S., benchmark 10-year notes last fell 4/32 in price to yield 2.4033 percent, from 2.389 percent late Thursday.

Capital markets have closely followed moves in Treasuries since last week, when the 3-month U.S. yield exceeded the yield on the 10-year note, an inversion of the yield curve that is widely seen as an indicator of a recession.

U.S. consumer spending barely rose in January and income increased modestly in February, suggesting the economy was fast losing momentum after growth slowed in the fourth quarter, data showed.

President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser said the White House would like the Federal Reserve to reverse some of its recent rate hikes and stop shrinking its balance sheet to protect the U.S. economy from weakness overseas.

With the pound sliding, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, rose 0.06 percent, with the euro down 0.03 percent to $1.1217.

Oil prices rose as U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela as well as OPEC-led supply cuts overshadowed concerns over a slowing global economy.

U.S. crude settled up 1.4 percent at $60.14 per barrel and Brent settled at $68.39 per barrel, up 0.8 percent.

Additional reporting by Karen Brettell in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler, James Dalgleish and Chris Reese