• Chinese exports climbed more than expected in July
• Crude-oil prices rose more than 2%
• U.S. Treasury yields ticked higher
Stocks around the world rose as stronger-than-expected Chinese trade data and upbeat indicators in Europe eased concerns about a sharp deterioration in the global economic outlook.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite index climbed 0.9% Thursday, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gauge rose 0.5%. Most other major Asian indexes also ticked up.
Feeding into the positive sentiment was an unexpected turnaround in Chinese exports, which climbed 3.3% in July from a year earlier. In addition, the Bank of France’s July business survey indicated an acceleration in growth in the eurozone’s No. 2 economy. Economists at Daiwa Capital Markets called the report, “arguably as upbeat as might have been hoped.”
In Europe, the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.7%, led by gains in the technology and oil-and-gas sectors. Zurich Insurance Group’s shares rose 4.2% after the Swiss insurer said it is on track to beat its 2019 targets.
Thursday’s stock moves follow a bout of market volatility across the world, highlighting uncertainty about how the trade and currency battle between the U.S. and China will play out. U.S. stocks whipsawed Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average swinging more than 600 points at its widest span and closing down just 22.45 points, or 0.1%.
China’s official yuan rate remains in focus after the nation’s central bank set a daily anchor for its currency at its weakest level since 2008, breaking through the symbolic seven-per-dollar level after having allowed markets to breach that level earlier in the week. The offshore yuan strengthened 0.25% against the dollar, trading at 7.0664 to the U.S. dollar.
In the U.S., the yield on the 10-year Treasurys rose to 1.734%, from 1.675% on Wednesday. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions. Federal Reserve officials would need to consider more stimulus aimed at boosting the economy if growing trade tensions lead to a sharper pullback, a senior Fed bank president said Wednesday.
The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of its peers, was down by 0.1%.
In commodities, Brent crude-oil futures rebounded 2.7% following media reports that Saudi Arabia is “discussing options to stop the fall in oil prices,” according to a note from ING’s strategists.
Gold prices nudged down 0.4%.
On the earnings front, investors are likely to be closely watching Uber’s results later in the day.
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