By Trevor Hunnicutt
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks in the United States, Japan and emerging markets rose on Monday, reflecting optimism that the United States and China are set to begin negotiations on trade.
MSCI’s world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, touched its lowest level since Feb. 9 but was then buoyed to a 0.81 percent gain after a Wall Street Journal report that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was considering a visit to Beijing to begin negotiations.
Hope of a rapprochement between the countries abbreviated the markets’ hangover about a trade war pitting the world’s two largest economies against one another.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 302.37 points, or 1.28 percent, to 23,835.57, the S&P 500 gained 25.69 points, or 0.99 percent, to 2,613.95 and the Nasdaq Composite added 70.57 points, or 1.01 percent, to 7,063.23.
“This is a time to be adding risk, not reducing it. We are confident purchases at current prices will prove to be a very good entry point for an eventual move to new all time highs this summer,” wrote Morgan Stanley & Co LLC equity strategists including Michael Wilson early on Monday.
“Friday’s action does not dissuade us.”
The Dow sank more than 1,000 points over the two days ended Friday while the selloff pushed the S&P 500 to within a hair of its 200-day moving average, a key level watched by market tacticians.
Emerging market stocks rose 0.69 percent. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.57 percent higher, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.72 percent to erase earlier losses.
Fears of a trade war mounted this month after Trump first slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and then on Thursday specifically targeted China by announcing plans for tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese goods.
Signs of potential compromise were also supported by news that South Korea would be exempt from U.S. steel tariffs in a revision of the bilateral trade pact between the two countries. South Korea’s benchmark share index rose 0.84 percent.
SIGNS OF FEAR
Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes were little changed, but with yields rising at the front of the curve as the government planned to sell a record high $294 billion of debt this week in a test of investor appetite.
In a sign of fear still hovering in the market, yields on longer-dated Treasury debt were falling at the back end of the curve. Spot gold added 0.6 percent to $1,354.65 an ounce at two-month highs.
The dollar index fell 0.38 percent.
European markets were mixed, with concerns over the formation of a new anti-establishment government in Italy weighing on Southern European debt in particular on Monday, though this was counterbalanced to an extent by a ratings upgrade for Spain late on Friday.
Italian bonds underperformed, with 10-year yields rising as much as 0.055 percentage points on further signs that the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the anti-migrant League might explore an alliance to form a government.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 0.81 percent. But the euro still moved up 0.7 percent to $1.2438.
In commodities, international Brent crude futures were last at $69.32, down 0.7 percent on the day. The possibility of a full-blown trade war had weighed on the energy complex on fears that it could harm oil demand.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by Abhinav Ramnarayan and Julien Ponthus in London and Swati Pandey in Sydney; Editing by David Goodman and Chizu Nomiyama)