World shares reached their highest on Tuesday in nearly two years, holding record highs in sight, amid fresh signals that the U.S. and China are working to end a brutal trade war that rattled the global economy.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative, as well as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held a call on Tuesday to discuss issues related to a Phase One trade agreement, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said.
This enhanced China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba’s successful debut in Hong Kong in this year’s largest share sale worldwide.
Alibaba shares in Hong Kong opened up about 7 percent higher than their issue value and in New York at a small price premium. After months of anti-government protests rocking the former British colony, the listing was seen as a vote of confidence in Hong Kong.
European shares were slightly lower in early trade, even though the pan-European STOXX 600 stayed at 4-year highs.
Trade-in U.S. stock futures were a tad firmer.
A flurry of big transactions has boosted global markets, with France agreeing to buy U.S. jeweler Tiffany & Co and Charles Schwab Corp agreeing to buy U.S. discount brokerage TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.
Nonetheless, optimism over the US / China trade talks has remained the key driver in recent days despite encouraging news from the two largest economies in the world on this front.
In a 16-month long conflict over trade practices that the U.S. government claims are unfair, the U.S. has levied tariffs on Chinese goods. China reacted with its own U.S. goods tariffs.
As Washington is expected to introduce even more tariffs on Chinese goods, the next important date to note is Dec. 15.
Japan’s yen dropped to a low of 109,205 per dollar for two weeks, while the Swiss franc traded nearly a low of six weeks against the greenback as the bullish tone sapped demand for safe-haven currencies.
The yuan rose briefly on the offshore market to a one-week high of 7,0188 compared to the dollar.
Yields on safe-haven government bonds in the eurozone pushed higher, although bond investors were wary about the small rise in borrowing costs.