Stocks around the world were rallying sharply Friday after news of a potential trade breakthrough between the United States and China seemed to counter the brutal sell-off that characterized markets in October.
According to Bloomberg, US President Donald Trump has asked key officials to begin drafting potential terms of a trade agreement with China. Trump is said to be interested in reaching an agreement on trade with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Argentina at the end of the month.
The news has been welcomed by investors across Asia and especially in China, which this year has seen its major indexes lose 30% or more of their value. October was especially brutal in stock markets — after a string of sharp sell-offs, last month was the worst month for the SP 500 in seven years.
“The trade war has been partly to blame for the recent equities rout, so any signs that the two powers are making progress will encourage investors to put risk back on the table and pick up stocks at bargain levels,” Jasper Lawler, the head of research at London Capital Group, said in an email.
Friday’s rebound saw the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index soar 2.7%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped by an even larger 4.2%.
Those gains continued into the European morning, with stocks across the continent rallying, and looking set for a major gain over the week, as indexes bounce back from the October horror show. By 8:45 a.m. GMT (4:45 a.m. ET), major indexes in continental Europe were broadly higher by more than 1%, with the Euro Stoxx 50 index jumping 1.1%.
The only country missing out on Friday’s bounce has been the UK, with the FTSE 100 lagging behind on the back of a major rally in the pound on Thursday. When the pound rises, the FTSE tends to fall — most companies on the index denominate their earnings in dollars, so a stronger pound is a negative for them.
With Europe bouncing, it also appears that markets in the US are ready to rebound. Futures pointed to all three major US indexes opening higher later on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average pointing to a 0.85% gain at the open.
US stocks could get a further boost when the latest data on nonfarm payrolls is released at 8:30 a.m. in Washington (12:30 p.m. in London).
Job growth most likely rebounded in October, with wages expected to gain their most in 9 1/2 years, pointing to further labor market tightening that could encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates again in December. Economists predict that the unemployment rate is expected to stay at a 49-year low of 3.7%, while payrolls probably increased by 190,000 jobs.
Analysts urged caution, however.
“This remains a fragile situation, but it appears to have turned a corner, providing a floor to the recent equity selloff,” Lawler said. “Whilst talks are on a positive note we don’t expect to see a repeat of those extreme bouts of selling that we saw across October.”
The report that Trump was asking officials to draft new trade terms came shortly after the president tweeted that he had a “long and very good conversation with President Xi Jinping of China.”
“We talked about many subjects, with a heavy emphasis on Trade,” he said on Twitter. “Those discussions are moving along nicely with meetings being scheduled at the G-20 in Argentina.”
According to Chinese state media, Xi also said on Thursday that he hoped “China and the United States will be able to promote a steady and healthy relationship.”
“The two countries’ trade teams should strengthen contact and conduct consultations on issues of concern to both sides, and promote a plan that both can accept to reach a consensus on the China-US trade issue,” Xi said, according to CCTV state television.
Business Insider Australia’s David Scutt contributed reporting.