Stocks in Asia rose through the week as a slew of data bolstered confidence in the economy.
News that top Chinese and American officials agreed to restart talks aimed at ending the trade war helped in boosting sentiment and added to a renewed appetite for risk assets that took hold earlier in the week.
Hong Kong stocks mostly held on to gains on Thursday after seeing a surge of 4% in the Hang Seng index on Wednesday following reports surrounding the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill.
Although shares in Hong Kong led the advance in Asia, gains were more modest in Tokyo and Seoul, with the MSCI Asia Pacific Index on course for its biggest weekly rise since June.
Seoul gained 1.1%, Singapore 0.5%, and Taipei 0.9% apiece. Manila and Jakarta were also well in positive territory.
On currency markets, high-yielding, riskier assets were up across the board against the dollar, led by the Australian dollar and South Korean won. The Chinese yuan, which hit 11-year lows earlier in the week, was also well up.
The week started with the The S&P 500 futures trading 25 points (0.9%) below fair value after a long Labor Day weekend and contribution of ongoing global events to familiar growth concerns.
The 15% tariff rate imposed by the US on $110 billion of new Chinese imports went into effect on Sunday, along with China’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports.
The S&P 500 futures traded 0.8% above fair value following a 1.1% gain in the benchmark index on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the S&P 500 jumped to a five-week high, led by Tech shares. The rally was due to positive investor sentiments after news broke about U.S. and China holding high-level talks in Washington in early October.
Banks rallied as yields on two-year notes jumped as much as 14 basis points, which would have been the largest full-day increase in a decade, before inching back. Defensive sectors retreated as strong private payrolls data and a hot reading on the services sector tamped down recession angst.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.7% higher on Thursday having earlier hit a one-month high, with autos jumping almost 3% to lead gains on the back of the expected resumption of U.S.-China trade negotiations. Health care was the worst performing sector, shedding 0.76%.
Germany’s benchmark DAX index gained 0.9%, despite news that German manufacturing orders had slumped in July by more than expected. France’s CAC 40 also rose 0.9%.
In the UK, the FTSE 100 was an exception in the European market and declined by 0.7% on the back of the country’s political turmoil. Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost a series of parliamentary votes on Tuesday and Wednesday , paving the way for an election in the coming weeks or months that may determine the fate of Brexit. The British pound rallied by 0.6% on investor sentiments that setbacks for the strongly pro-Brexit Johnson mean that the chances of a disorderly and rapid EU exit for the U.K. have diminished.
Focusing on individual stock prices, London-listed John Wood Group gained 9% to top the Stoxx 600 on Thursday, and was closely followed by British housebuilder Melrose, which was up 8.7% by the end of the session.
Equinor shares were up 7.5% after the announcement of an early start to its Johan Sverdrup oil field. The top loser was Clydesdale Bank stock which fell 21% after making a further provision of £400 million in legacy costs to settle PPI claims.