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Stable day for markets as US-China trade spat and Brexit inch closer to conclusion

By Philip Smith

Gold dips below psychologically important level of $1,500 an ounce

Stable day for the markets as the US-China trade spat and Brexit both inched closer to a conclusion

The markets reacted with cautious optimism to the news that the UK’s main opposition party would, after all, support calls for an early general election to help unblock the Brexit stagnation.

There was also hope that the tariff wars between the US and China could be easing with both sides giving ground ahead of a crucial summit next month.

Against the dollar the pound rose 0.37 per cent to 1.2901 while against the euro it was up 0.21 per cent to 1.1602 by late afternoon.

On the equity markets, the FTSE 100 slipped slightly – a 0.34 per cent drop, closing at 7,306. The FTSE 250 was also down, by 0.21 per cent, at 20,169.

It was a similar story across the Atlantic, where expectations of a rate cut from the Federal Reserve saw some US stocks rise. Even so, the major markets were trading slightly lower with the Nasdaq trading down at 8,066; a drop of 0.57 per cent. The Dow saw a modest rise, of 0.09 per cent, to 27,114 mid-afternoon UK time.

The Asian markets saw the Nikkei up by 0.47 per cent, while Japan’s Topix benchmark closed at a 2019 high of 1,662.68, 0.86 per cent rise. Equities dropped in both Hong Kong and Shanghai, where trading was depressed partly due to a warning against speculation on blockchain-related stocks.

The S&P 500 was trading up – modestly – at 3,041 after strong results from drug giants Merck and Pfizer, taking it past the index’s previous intraday record of 3,027.98 on July 26.

Bonds

Yields on Japanese 10-year bonds hit their highest since June while Australian counterparts jumped almost nine basis points.

Commodities

Gold edged lower Tuesday, a day after slipping back below the psychologically important level of $1,500 an ounce.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin, which has been subject to speculative volatility to some degree with hopes being raised that another cryptocurrency bonanza was about to happen, dropped 0.77 per cent to £7,238. Bitcoin cash did rise, by 0.49 per cent. The other major crypto coins also rose with Ethereum up 0.9 per cent, Litecoin up 0.4 per cent.

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