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Global Stocks Regain Ground After Losses

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07/12/2018 | 12:22 pm


By Ben St. Clair

-- Stocks rebound from Wednesday's fall

-- China guides currency lower

-- Commodity futures rise



Stocks in Asia and Europe rose Thursday, a day after major global indexes fell amid concerns over escalating trade tensions and falling oil prices.



The Stoxx Europe 600 was up 0.4% in early morning trading, led by gains in travel and leisure and media companies. Shares in European pay-TV giant Sky, were up 2.3% Thursday as 21st Century Fox and Comcast bid for control.



Futures pointed to a 0.5% opening gain for the S&P 500 and a 0.6% gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.



Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, was up 2% at $74.90 a barrel Thursday after falling almost 7% a day earlier on news that Libya would resume exports, its sharpest daily decline since February 2016.



Stocks have continued to seesaw as investors react to developments on trade and await second-quarter earnings, set to come into full swing Friday with U.S. banks reporting results.



The Trump administration said Tuesday it would assess additional tariffs on $200 billion on a variety of Chinese goods, including bicycles, sound systems, refrigerators, pocketbooks, vacuum cleaners, cosmetics, tools and seafood.



The news led to declines across global stocks and commodities, compounded by the falling crude prices.



In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.6% while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.2%. Japan's Nikkei rose 1.2%.



"We're at a situation where the markets have to react to the uncertainty, " said Jim Smigiel, CIO of absolute return strategies for SEI Investments. "Pricing the different outcomes" has been challenging for investors, especially before second-quarter earnings come out, he said.



Hong Kong-listed shares in Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE soared 25% Thursday, after the company cleared the last major hurdle to lifting U.S. sanctions. The U.S. Commerce Department in April had banned U.S. companies from selling to ZTE as punishment for the company's failure to honor an earlier U.S. agreement over sales to North Korea and Iran.



Thursday's gains in Asian equities come as China guided the yuan to its largest one-day drop against the U.S. dollar in a year and a half. The central bank, which determines a daily dollar-yuan exchange rate and allows the currency to trade within 2% of that level, set the dollar's reference rate at 6.6726 yuan.



A weaker yuan makes Chinese exports more competitive and its goods more valuable abroad.



The yuan has declined 2.5% against the dollar this year as the greenback has strengthened. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the greenback against a basket of other currencies, is up over 5% in the past three months, as strong economic data and rising interest rates help support it.



Copper futures rose 1.2% and aluminum futures edged down 0.2% after earlier gains.



Yields on 10-year Treasurys rose to 2.859% from 2.844% on Wednesday. Yields rise as prices fall.



Elsewhere in markets, the Turkish lira climbed 1.6%, after steep falls on Wednesday and Monday. Investors have reacted negatively after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appointed his son-in-law as finance minister and put in place measures that could curb the independence of Turkey's central bank.





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