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Global shares start year on a high, boosted by China’s economic stimulus

By Philip Smith

Positive expectations win out over gloomy reports as global stocks surge, sterling slips a little

There was little sign of despondency from traders returning to their desks after the new year break.

Even though a plethora of reports and surveys indicated low consumer confidence and worsening factory output, from the start screens on trading floors in China and Hong Kong turned green, starting a wave that spread west as the day progressed.

Shanghai closed up 1.15 per cent and the Hang Seng up 1.14 per cent. Bucking the trend, Japan’s Nikkei closed down 0.76 per cent.

The eastern market boom was attributed to yesterday's announcement by the Chinese central bank freeing up 800bn yuan (£87bn, $115bn, €102bn) as an economic stimulus. That news was enhanced when President Trump announced that the the long-awaited US, China trade deal will be signed on January 15.

The DAX and CAC had strong openings, both closing up 1.11 per cent and 1.16 per cent respectively.

The FTSE also closed up 0.82 per cent at 7,604 (+61.846 points). This was lower performance than its European peers, marked down to China’s announcement that it is delaying a link-up between the London and Shanghai exchanges for political reasons.

The Dow had a good start, immediately opening up and at 5pm GMT stood at 28,712, up 0.61 per cent.

On the currency markets the pound slipped against the dollar to 1.3132. Against the euro the pound fell 0.45 per cent making a euro worth a little over 85p.

Both Bitcoin and Etherium fell by 1.58 per cent and 2.89 per cent respectively. One Bitcoin is worth £5,356.

Oil started the day well and at 5pm GMT was trading slightly up (0.3per cent) at $66.20 a barrel.

Gold also had a positive day, selling at about £1,162 an ounce at 5pm GMT, after opening at £1,144.

FURTHER READING: Uncertain future for UK economy

FURTHER READING: European factory gloom deepens

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