FTSE 100 hits record as trade war fears ease

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The FTSE 100 has surged to a new record high as investors welcome signs President Trump’s planned trade war with China is “on hold”.

A series of factors helped push values up on the opening – the index rising 0.5% and comfortably above the 7800 point barrier.

Chief among them, analysts said, was the US decision to postpone threatened tariffs on Chinese imports amid apparent progress in negotiations between Washington and Beijing.

The relief rally also helped Brent crude oil prices, which hit $80 a barrel for the first time in three-and-a-half years last week, gain on hopes economic damage from a trade war would be avoided.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing
Image: US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the trade war was ‘on hold’

While the announcement signalled greater appetite for risk on stock markets, a stronger dollar took its toll on the pound which slid 0.4% to just above $1.34 in Asia trading.

A weaker sterling since the Brexit vote has tended to boost share values because it bolsters the earnings of the FTSE 100’s dollar-earning constituent companies.

The FTSE 100 hit a new record closing high last Thursday – defying the expectations of market experts earlier this year who predicted tougher times for the index amid a fog of Brexit uncertainty and a slowing economy.

Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkMarkets, said while the spectre of a damaging trade war between the world’s two largest economies had eased, there were other factors which could dampen sentiment.

He said: “Both sides have retracted from their threatening behaviour and the US has suspended $150bn worth of tariffs on Chinese imports.

“Let’s see if the US hopes about China buying a substantial amount of US goods become true.

“European markets are picking up the momentum where they left off last week. It is a green day across markets – at least for now.

“However, Italian markets remain a concern for us. Last week, Italian markets experienced more selling pressure because of the unrest in the political situation of the country.

“A new populist coalition government is the last thing that you want to see after the Brexit mess.

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“The Italian ten-year yield soared as a result of this and crossed the 2.2% mark.”

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From – SkyNews

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