Tech boosts Wall Street as trade war fears ebb

by Garry Watts March 29, 2018, 1:13
Tech boosts Wall Street as trade war fears ebb

Wall Street gained, while US Treasuries fell, as concern about a global trade war eased amid signs of discussions between the US and China.

After all, Friday's close represented the lowest the S&P 500 has traded since February 8th, and the Dow finished at its lowest point since November 22 of past year.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 2.7% to 2 658.55, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 3.3% to 7 220.54.

Stock markets were gripped by fears of a global trade war after US President Donald Trump last week moved to impose tariffs on Chinese imports of up to $US60 billion, adding to the import restrictions he has already placed on solar panels, steel and aluminium among others.

Premier Li Keqiang said Monday China would treat foreign and domestic firms equally, not force foreign firms to transfer technology and would strengthen intellectual property rights, repeating promises that have failed to placate Washington.

"There are some tentative signs that fears of an escalation of trade tensions are beginning to ease", Craig Erlam, a market analyst at OANDA wrote in a note to clients.

The US last week announced proposed tariffs against China, which sent global markets tumbling. The Nasdaq climbed about 3.25 percent as investors were reassured that a damaging trade war might be avoided.

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Tokyo-listed stocks in the semiconductor equipment maker Tokyo Electron closed up 2.9%, as did shares in robot maker Yaskawa Electric Corp.

everThe country's blue-chip indices saw an improved mood following last week's falls, which saw the S&P 500 suffer its worst weekly performance in more than two years.

In China, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.8% in afternoon trade, while the Shanghai Composite rose 1.1%.

Japan's Nikkei, meanwhile, erased earlier losses of 1.3 per cent to end 0.7 per cent higher.

China then responded to news of the planned tariffs by saying it did not want a trade war, but it was "absolutely not afraid" of one. Before last week's trade talk, both companies were waylaid by another proposal to slap tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, two materials that both companies are heavily dependent on, and two commodities where the US consumes far more than it produces.

South Korea's benchmark share index rose 0.8 per cent. "The trade tensions imperil growth", said Michael McCarthy of CMC Markets in a report.

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