Stocks across the globe rise on positive sentiment around trade talks
MSCI's all-country world index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up 1% on the day and was set for its best week since early January
London — Global stocks rose on Friday after a report that US-China trade talks were making progress and a vote by UK legislators to delay the British exit from the EU.
European stocks markets opened higher, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 index reaching its highest since October. S&P 500 futures also gained, indicating that stocks would open higher on Wall Street.
Chinese vice-premier Liu spoke by telephone to US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and US trade representative Robert Lightizer, and the two sides made substantive progress on trade, news agency Xinhua reported.
In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of Japan gained more than 0.5%.
MSCI's all-country world index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up 1% on the day and was set for its best week since early January.
The Shanghai Composite Index added 1% and Japan's Nikkei climbed 0.8%.
South Korea's Kospi rose nearly 1%. The index had risen as much as 1.2% but gave up some gains following reports that North Korea might suspend nuclear talks with the US.
Comments from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also helped sentiment. His remarks suggested Beijing was ready to roll out more forceful stimulus to bolster China's economy.
China has so far promised billions in tax cuts and infrastructure spending, as weakening domestic demand and the trade war with the US curbs economic growth.
"China and Europe had been two of the key areas of concern at the start of 2019 and even though there is still much uncertainty, targeted fiscal stimulus in China (VAT cut April 1) and potentially some clarity emerging on Brexit over coming weeks could improve sentiment," strategists at ING Bank wrote in a note to clients.
European stocks rose to a five-month high after Britain's parliamentary vote on Brexit. The pound was flat on the day at $1.3243.
"We view the overall outcome of this week’s votes ... as positive for UK assets," strategists at BNP Paribas wrote in a research note. "Indeed, the pound has risen by 2% on the week. Yet, while most of the routes ahead now look net positive, we still expect a bumpy path."
Elsewhere in currencies, the dollar index slipped 0.2% to 96.619 after rising 0.25% on Thursday to recover from a nine-day trough of 96.385.
The US currency was flat at ¥111.70. It had dipped to ¥111.49 after the Bank of Japan left interest rates unchanged.
The central bank offered a bleaker assessment of exports and output, as global demand waned. Observers said that it may be too early to expect the Bank of Japan to ease policy further.
The euro edged up 0.1% to $1.1315 after slipping 0.2% overnight.
Oil prices rose as investors focused on global production cuts and supply disruptions in Venezuela. US crude futures rose 0.2% to $58.74 per barrel, holding close to Thursday's four-month peak of $58.74. Brent was 0.25% higher at $67.39.